While charity shops and secondhand clothing apps may be better for the environment than others, they can still cause serious damage to your wallet, according to Amy Beecham, a member of Stylist.
“I made a promise to myself in the beginning of the year that I would shop less in 2022”
Three reasons prompted it. First, I had increased my awareness about my own, often uncontrolled, consumerism and wanted to regain some control. While individual actions in the face of a crisis like climate change may seem insignificant at times it was vital for me to exercise my environmental responsibility in any way possible. Three, my bank account begged me to.
Although I am not a stranger to Asos deliveries, my real spending vice was secondhand shopping.
Since I was a child, I have searched charity shops and car boot sale sales for any bargains. My teenage years were spent searching for trendy pieces to wear to sixth grade via clothes-selling apps.
Slow fashion is an important and growing force for change. However, I would be lying if i claimed that my only motivations for buying slow fashion are my Vinted hauls or charity shop splurges.
Truth is, I love a good bargain. And when you have on-trend cargo pants for $5 or early 2000s Karen Millen dresses under $15, you can’t blame me for not saying yes?
My top picks include floor-length 100% wool coats from $30, vintage Coach bags at $20, and more obscure items like my beloved St Michaels white high waisted trousers for only a fiver.
My most treasured thrift find ever? Burberry trench coat still with its Selfridges tag, available for $50 at Leamington Spa charity shop.
I have come to realize that these attractive prices can quickly lead to spending excessively. Let’s just say, after an audit of all the clothes I have added to my wardrobe, I decided that March would include a spending ban for a whole month. Secondhand shopping, as the retro denim jackets, corset tops in vogue, and summer dresses that I have on my rails will attest, is undoubtedly a positive thing.
My wardrobe is at least 80 percent secondhand. It’s full of vintage sweatshirts, top-of-the-line blouses, and wardrobe-staple wrap dress sourced from other people’s closets.
It seems that I am not the only one. Vinted, a secondhand shopping app, found that 33% of respondents claimed that their favorite outfits are secondhand. 22% stated that secondhand clothes make them feel more confident.
“The pandemic has changed priorities around the world and accelerated a growing movement towards more conscious consumerism that was noticeable over the last few years,” says Natacha Blanchard (Vineted’s consumer PR lead).
“Secondhand shopping is not only driven by environmental factors but also makes economic sense for the buyer and seller.” It’s not surprising that fast fashion retailers now have a market value of over $100 billion. But it is a little comfort to know that slow fashion is still thriving.
Blanchard says, “The fashion industry has a significant impact on climate. We believe that encouraging the consumption of secondhand is part of the solution.”
“However to normalize circular fashion, it must be accessible, convenient, and provide economic value to all involved.” Vinted is committed to this mission.
Although swapping H&M for bargaining at a garage sale for Dorothy Perkins for Depop will not stop climate change, it has changed how I spend my money.
If I come across a new item that I like, I search secondhand websites until I find it. This works great for everything, from Vagabond boots, Other Stories dresses, and the $80 Reebok trainers were all I had in mind when I saw them on Asos.
I don’t know if I will ever be able to resist giving a perfect pair of jeans or a cute T-shirt a new home. However, I know I will be working hard to achieve ethical and mindful consumption.