What was once taboo in the world of fashion is now trending, and for good reason. Secondhand shopping has evolved from searching the racks of Value Village – queue Macklemore – to scrolling websites like thredUP, The RealReal, and Vestiaire Collective. Along with the resurgence of consignments stores, recycling clothing is now posh.
As consumers steer away from the cold walls of department stores, it seems as no surprise second-hand shopping has racked an almost $30 million economy in Canada. The rapid turnover rate of trends seen on ready-to-wear runways and its reciprocation in fast-fashion stores has led the Instagram generation to fund the latest Supreme drops with reselling. Buyers can find lightly used and brand-new-with-tags items, as well as rare vintage pieces.
Seeming as the shopper’s ideal solution to the environmental crisis, people are approaching retail with intent to prevent filling up landfills with impulse buys and bomber jackets. According to a study by thredUP, 18-37 year-olds made 37% of secondhand apparel purchases in 2019. Millennials being the driving force of secondhand shopping, they are also adopting the Kondo method of finding joy in material items, causing them to decrease purchases and increase the quality of items.
Luxury is also undergoing an environmental awakening. As buying from thrift or consignment stores was seen as low-class, designers now welcome this notion. Although people perceive online shopping to be killing traditional retail, The RealReal is experiencing the opposite effect. Founder Julie Wainwright’s initial investment of $100,000 led her company to gross $288 million in income, and open brick-and-mortar stores in 7 major cities.
As society asks what came first – the trend or the demand – the lines between responsible consumption and responsible production are blurring. The concept of sustainable consumption is a result of keeping up with the rapid, mass production of trends.
Favourite sustainable brands:
- Stella McCartney
- The Reformation
- Collina Strada
- Outdoor Voices
- Tome NYC
- Gabriela Hearst