Second Hand Clothing is the Future of Fashion
Sustainable fashion is not just about buying second hand but it has become a movement that we should all contribute to and it is projected to take over the fashion industry in the next 10 years.
A new report by resale marketplace thredUP has announced that the secondhand clothing market is growing 21 times faster than retail, as pre-loved fashion becomes the new normal.
"The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, second only to oil." -Eileen Fisher
Fashion has gone "fast" over the past decade and that's definitely not good for the environment. There is no fashion fairy that waves her wand and clothes magically appear in our favorite stores. They have to be produced using materials, energy, and water.
A majority of today's clothing is made from polyester and acrylic, both of which are forms of plastic. Plastic is a by product of the oil and gas industry and it's estimated that it takes around 70 million barrels of oil to produce the popular polyester fabric each year. Producing polyester is also heat intensive meaning that it uses a lot of energy and water during production. The fabric is also dyed before it hits the shelves and the waste water from the dyeing ends up in our water systems polluting our rivers.
On top of all this, we can't forget the emissions from transportation. With most of the clothing sold in the US being produced in Asia, there is a ton of waste with some clothing never even making it to the stores due to overproduction so they then end up in landfills.
One very important way to reduce your personal environmental impact is to buy second hand. The stigma behind second hand clothing is long gone and more and more people are embracing it.
"Re-use and recycling offer some carbon savings because the lifetime of clothing that is re-used or recycled is extended. Where this displaces a sale of a new garment,10 the effects on the environment from fibre extraction and processing are avoided.” — WRAP report
Other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to your closet is by extending the lifespan of your existing wardrobe. Avoid running to the mall every time a new fashion trend hits the runway and opt to buy timeless pieces instead. You can also cut down on washing your clothing as much because washing takes a lot of energy and can contaminate the water systems from certain fabrics so it's also a good idea to shop for clothing with natural fibers such as linen, flax, or wool.
For me, shopping second hand is way more than just being eco-freindly. I get exhilarated at finding a rare gem and I love to imagine the exciting life the garment had before me. Buying second hand will in no way save the world but it will surely help plus you get to keep clothing in use and continue the story!