We see it, we like it, we want it. In our world where the ‘new’ and trendy are a thing, buying second hand fashion has received a little bit of hype. Due to the growing popularity of sustainable fashion, buying second hand has become increasingly mainstream. Aside from being trendy and looking ‘cool’, there are several benefits to buying second hand fashion.
Here they are:
1. Wallet speaks first
This is probably the most obvious advantage of buying fashion second hand. You can find your favorite brands and designer items second hand at a lower price. This is simply because they have previously been worn by someone else and/or are no longer used by the previous owner. The wallet then speaks: you can access the latest trends or go back in time without risking to bump into fast fashion.
2. Reduced textile waste
Besides being one of the most polluting industries globally, the fashion industry is also one of the most wasteful; where 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills (according to World Wear Projects). Moreover, estimates by the Ellen McArthur Foundation suggest that just less than 1% of used clothing is recycled into new garments.
If you buy fashion second hand, you are helping to recycle and reuse clothing, which leads to less textile waste! To know more about what *really* happens to our clothes when they end up in landfills, have a read at one of our previous posts.
3. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
The fashion industry contributes to 10% of the world’s carbon emissions each year (according to statistics published by the UNEP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation). For example, buying just one brand new white cotton shirt can generate the same amount of emissions as driving a car for 35 miles, according to Oxfam. By purchasing second hand instead of purchasing brand new clothing, you can help to minimise the growth of carbon emissions!
4. Saved water
The production process for our clothes requires a lot of water. By a lot we mean it takes 2,700 litres to make a cotton t-shirt (assessment by World Wildlife Fund) and 10,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans! (Statistics by the United Nations). Yes, that is A LOT of water and these are just a couple of examples.
If more of us recycle and reuse second hand clothing, the water used for the production of clothing can be repurposed. For example, it can be used to provide more drinking water instead of ending up as industrial waste!
5. Where did you find that again?
We have to admit, it can be a little awkward when you come across somebody wearing the EXACT same clothing item as you. Buying second hand can prevent this problem! Because it is from a previous season or a different decade, chances are that you will not find someone wearing the exact same item that you have found second hand. From rare pieces by your favorite brands to sought-after vintage gems, you will surely find a unique piece that complements your personal style!
6. Old trends are new trends
We all know that fashion trends come and go. Fashion that was once considered to be out-of-date is suddenly trendy again. Old school fashion trends such as wide-leg jeans or those oversized shoulder pad blazers that were very popular in the 80s (for example) have suddenly made a comeback today. Chances are, you can find trendy items second hand!
7. Better quality
As time has gone by, the perceived consumer value for clothing has declined over the last 15 years. The quality of fashion has gone downhill or is not the same as it was previously. The popularity of low-cost fast fashion in the late 90s and early 2000s is partially responsible for this. Fast fashion retailers began to replicate design elements from designer brands and produced them cheaply and fast.
Therefore, it is possible that sometimes, older or vintage items can hold better quality. Second hand fashion is often sold in good enough condition for continued wear, which already proves that it has stood the test of time.
Overall, without spending a fortune, we can all try to be more sustainable in an attempt to save our planet. Let’s not forget that to look our best in the process!