Check this out: Sales of secondhand clothing are set to hit $64 billion in 2028 while sales of new clothing will only be $44 billion. It’s expected that 13% of our wardrobes will be secondhand, up from just 6% last year.
That may not come as a surprise for you if your Instagram feed is anything like ours. We’re seeing an increase in posts with vintage finds from thrift stores and upcycled masterpieces from people’s own wardrobes.
It’s a trend we hope is here for the long-term.
The studies, books and films are incredibly clear: the fashion industry, particularly fast fashion, has serious consequences for the planet, animals and the people who produce the clothes.
In contrast to the traditional model of consumption – make, use, dispose – we need to move toward a circular economy. This means a product should be used for as long as possible before being turned into something else. Once it’s had several lives, it would then be broken down into its component parts and regenerated in a way that doesn’t harm the planet.
‘I would encourage anyone who cares about [sustainability] to buy secondhand wherever possible. It’s a no-brainer. The damage has already been done, you’re saving things from being wasted, supporting a better consumption model and lowering demand for new things.
The process of buying secondhand is really healthy, too. It’s not just a case of seeing something and thinking, ‘I like it, I’ll buy it.’ You have to go on a bit of a journey. You have to really know what you want. Get all your measurements, think about what sort of wardrobe you want to build, then get digging!’
Secondhand shopping does take a bit more effort and planning is key.
We love his advice to keep your measurements handy, especially if you’re shopping online. Kathryn Kellogg from Going Zero Waste recommends having a game plan – know what you have and what gaps you’re trying to fill before you start shopping.
And when you’re in the store, take the advice of Lauren Singer from Trash Is For Tossers. Ask yourself if the piece you’re considering will work with at least two other items in your existing wardrobe.
Gone are the days when the only options for secondhand clothing was the thrift store in town or the Sunday morning yard sales.
Now you can hit up boutique consignment stores, retro/vintage shops and market stalls. Or grab your phone or tablet and search the many online marketplaces for everything from luxury clothes and accessories to high street pieces.
If you want to take part in the sustainable clothing revolution, here are the best platforms to find secondhand items:
> Hardly Ever Worn It
> Vestiaire Collective
> Edit Second Hand
> The RealReal
So is this the year you’re going to make a move toward sustainable fashion? It’s never been easier to dive in.
We’d love to see your secondhand looks! Tag us on social and let us know how you get on.