Everyone loves a good bargain. I’ve had my fair share of “aha!” sale moments when browsing my favourite online stores where the rush of adrenaline when checking out feels almost too good to be true.
But what is the true cost of shopping at traditional fast fashion retailers? Sometimes the temptation to buy that shiny new dress or pair of shoes is great- after all, that ‘it look’ seems to be popping up everywhere you look.
What if I told you, you could have everything that provides value for money and more, second hand? Working in the industry for over 8 years, I’ve come across countless of items that are brand new with tags, often which I’ve seen said pieces in the glossy retail windows only weeks before. Sometimes a little patience can go a long way, whether it is spending some more time to search in op shops, or keeping a keen eye out online on one of the several popular second hand marketplaces such as Depop and of course, our online store.
I can guarantee you, you can find any brand out there on the reused market (sometimes even new). Buying this item on its second life has so much more value than buying it brand new.
As consumers, we have the power to make a difference by making more sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. As much as I love online shopping at traditional retailers, I can recognise that my actions have a negative environmental effect.
Second hand shopping has many benefits for the environment, as well as for your wallet. By buying second hand clothing, you are reducing the demand for new clothing to be produced, which in turn reduces the amount of resources, energy, and waste that goes into making new clothing. It also helps to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill, which is a growing problem as fast fashion continues to dominate the industry.
Sourcing your fashion from the resale market (op shops, Marketplace, eBay and Depop for example) is an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and here's a few reasons why:
Reducing waste: Every year, the fashion industry produces a massive amount of waste, with millions of tons of clothing ending up in landfill. By purchasing pre-loved clothing, you are reducing the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills and extending the life of these items.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person in the United States throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year. That amounts to 26 billion pounds of textiles that end up in landfills each year in the US alone.
- The production of new clothing requires a significant amount of resources, including water, energy, and raw materials. By buying pre-loved clothing, you are reducing the demand for new clothing to be produced, which conserves these resources.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: The production and transportation of new clothing contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. By purchasing pre-loved clothing, you are reducing the need for new clothing to be produced, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the fashion industry.
A 2018 report by the UK charity Barnardo’s found that if every adult in the UK bought one item of pre-loved clothing each year, it would save an equivalent of 3.3 billion kilograms of carbon emissions, which is the same as taking 1.2 million cars off the road.
Supporting social enterprise: Op shops such as Good Sammy reinvest profits from their sales to do amazing work for different groups in the community. At Good Sammy 100% of our profits are invested into supporting people with disability. Our online op shop is no different- here we train people with disability in digital skills such as data entry, photography and modelling. In fact, one of our team members, Kayla, was recently featured in this video about how Good Sammy supports people with disability in employment. Check out more info here.
In addition to the environmental and social benefits, shopping second hand can also be a great way to find unique and interesting pieces of clothing that you wouldn't be able to find in a regular retail store. Whether you're looking for vintage pieces or just something a little bit different, second hand shopping can be a great way to express your personal style while also supporting sustainable fashion.
Here are my top tips for shopping second hand:
Consider shopping online. You can find quality, pre-loved pieces 24/7, shipped straight to your door. Skip the queue and often cluttered, stressful experience of sifting through overcrowded rails. I love shopping online because I can filter what’s available by size and colour. This helps me find items that I would actually be interested in in a matter of minutes.
Look for high-quality pieces that are made to last. These may be a bit more expensive, but they will save you money in the long run by not needing to be replaced as frequently. Sometimes this may involve planning ahead, and having a clear idea on what your wardrobe needs are, rather than browsing aimlessly (like I often do!)
Don't be afraid to try something new. Second hand shopping is a great way to experiment with different styles and trends without breaking the bank. I have been able to find my style own through second hand clothing, and it gives me a great sense of joy to feel that I can express my own sense of self through unique clothing.
Take care of your clothing. Loved clothes last. Proper care and maintenance will ensure that your second hand clothing lasts as long as possible, reducing the need for new clothing to be produced. I find that my higher quality pieces last longer than anything I buy for cheap at fast fashion.
In conclusion, sustainable fashion is an important issue that we can all contribute to by making more mindful choices when it comes to our clothing. Shopping second hand is a great way to support sustainable fashion while also finding unique and interesting pieces for your wardrobe. Anyone can make second hand shopping a fun and rewarding experience that benefits both you and the environment. This Earth Day we want to emphasise- "Loved Clothes Last"- find treasures you will enjoy for years to come from conscious sources, and take care of your clothes so they don't contribute to the fast fashion cycle.