We’re all trying more and more to be as environmentally conscious as we can. We recycle, buy eco-products, sport delightful reusable coffee and water bottles, drive hybrids and try to ditch plastic wherever possible. These are all excellent steps! However, one area that can still be a little tricky is clothes shopping. After all, depending on your body type or budget, switching from your favourite tried and tested brands can be extremely difficult, not to mention that not all clothing brands are all that transparent about their supply chain and business practices.
While H&M are a great example of taking clothes manufacture in a greener direction, if you haven’t yet figured out which brands you can rely on for sustainable shopping (and who could blame you!), there is another philosophy you can embrace that will have a fabulous impact both on the planet and your wardrobe – shop pre-loved clothes!
And we don’t just mean start raiding charity shops – although this is a great place to start. Every high street has at least one and you can discover some genuinely stunning finds. You can also be strategic with charity shops! Head to a fancy neighbourhood like Kensington or Chelsea – the charity shops there will be full to the brim of designers! You can snag some cashmere or Dior for a tiny fraction of what you would even pay at TK Maxx!
If you can get past the main barrier that a lot of people have to the notion of pre-loved shopping – that it’s not shiny and new, that maybe there’s a bit of an icky feeling that you’re buying something that was once worn by a stranger – you will discover a whole new exciting side of fashion. No one’s asking you to buy dirty rags and pre-owned clothes shops would never sell something in terrible condition anyway! The level of wear and tear is always clearly shown and if you’re handy with a sewing kit or take a garment to a tailor, you can breathe new life into a stunning piece and make it entirely your own.
There are so many advantages to pre-loved shopping. First and foremost, it’s a huge friend to the planet. The fashion industry takes a huge toll on the environment, not just the manufacture and use of hazardous materials, but the huge impact of storage and shipping! Making the most of clothes that already exist ensures you’re getting as much out of already utilised resources as possible – not taking up new ones. But from a more materialistic standpoint – you save a lot of money and will find items that are truly unique.
We all know that mass-produced fashion means that everyone winds up looking like endless versions of everyone else. By shopping pre-loved and vintage, you’ll be able to make truly unique additions to your closet and put together ensembles that’ll not only stand out but let you show your individuality and style in a completely novel and personal way.
Of course, charity shops are all well and good, but if you’d rather not give up the convenience of online shopping, many thrift stores and second-hand shops have brilliant online facilities, not to mention a much more varied and exciting browsing experience. Shops like The RealReal are a particular favourite for amazing deals on designer items, but things like Depop or even good old eBay are fab alternatives for more budget options.
Fashion is cyclical – styles from decades past reemerge on a regular basis, just with a new sheen and some modern accessorizing. By shopping for secondhand and vintage items, you’ll have everything you’ll need in your arsenal when those nostalgic modes roll back around, and even have the chance to start your own trends ahead of the curve!