09 May Why you should buy preloved clothing
Most Americans want the newest, latest thing, especially when it comes to clothing and fashion. But did you know that over 70% of the world’s population use secondhand clothes, and the US is largest exporter of second hand clothing? It exports over a billion pounds of used clothing every year with an estimated value of over $682 million.
As most of you know, I promised to stop buying new clothes, shoes, and accessories at the beginning of the year. This has really changed my relationship with fashion and I have become more conscious about the impact everything I do has on the environment.
There are so many pros to why you should buy preloved items:
1. It is very sustainable. Since starting this initiative, I have developed a fascination for circular economy. Buying second-hand clothing uses fewer natural resources and would usually do less damage to the environment than buying new clothing. This also reduces textile waste and pollution. In addition, reusing second-hand items is a form of recycling, and thus reduces the amount of waste going to landfill sites. Did you know that it takes between 20-200 years for synthetic fibers to decompose? About 26 billion pounds of recyclable clothing and textiles end up in the landfill while only about 5 billion pounds of textiles are recycled. While doing my research, I stumbled upon SMART Textile Recycling, an association of businesses that focus on textile recycling, education, and advocacy. Their website has a lot of really good info about textile recycling and the creation of a circular economy around textiles. Another good resource is Close The Loop, a Belgian initiative to creating a more circular fashion economy.
2. It is ethical. Buying preloved items precludes you from buying fast fashion and supporting companies that create their clothing out of sweat shops. You become more conscious about where your clothing comes from, who makes it, and the social impact of your buying choices. Here are current initiatives you can jump onboard:
Turnaround H&M: H&M made a commitment to give a living wage to all their employees by 2018. It has yet to happen. This is a petition to hold H&M accountable for the promises they made to make living sustainable for their workers.
Fashion Revolution: started after the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, this is a shift to make the entire process of how fashion is made, sourced, marketed, and consumed more sustainable.
Clean Clothes Campaign-a movement dedicated to improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries.
B Corp Certification-measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. I am all about supporting businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Check out the list of certified B corporations.
3. Secondhand goods are considered to be quite safe. It is generally accepted that the health risk of buying used clothing is very low. Washing purchased items in hot water is just one of several ways to eliminate the risk of contracting infectious diseases. Also, places that accept used clothing for resale have policies to ensure that clothing is wearable and safe.
4. You develop a unique sense of style. You do not look like everyone else who shopped in any fast fashion store. You are more likely to stand out because you find one-of-a-kind pieces that nobody else has. Since I started this no-buy-new initiative, I have had more compliments about my clothing and shoes than ever. It is possible to look good, stay under a budget, and live a more sustainable and simplified life.
5. It is budget-friendly. Research shows that clothing found in thrift, secondhand, or consignment shops are discounted at least 50-80% less than retail. You also get high-quality clothing for a fraction of the price you get at the store. For example, customers on thredUp have saved over $425 million by shopping there instead of traditional retail. In fact, if one in 100 American households shopped resale, we could all collectively save over $1.6 billion!
So what are you waiting for? Take the leap and join me in this adventure. You never know what kind of incredible surprises you will find.
Lots of love,