We always say the most sustainable thing is already in your closet...or maybe it's in someone else's!
Buying secondhand clothing allows us to freshen up our wardrobe without the manufacturing impact of shopping new. Our favorite way to shop secondhand is to find gently used pieces that were sustainably made in the first place, like our wearwellagain collection.
Globally over the past 15 years, we are producing and discarding more clothing more quickly than ever. The average number of times a garment is worn before it's tossed in the trash has decreased by 36% worldwide, according to GreenBiz. Bloomberg reports that the number of clothes produced each year has at least doubled since the year 2000.
The good news: 58% of Americans now identify as conscious consumers, according to TD Bank’s annual Consumer Spending Index. This is one of the reasons, GreenBiz reports, that secondhand is anticipated to grow a whopping 185% in the next decade. Happily, it’s estimated that secondhand displaced nearly 1 billion new clothing purchases in 2021 that may have otherwise been purchased new.
All the ways to shop secondhand
For some, the search for secondhand can be a fun adventure! For others, it can be tough to find the styles, quality, and sizing you need. Depending on which camp you fall into, there are now plenty of ways to shop secondhand, from Facebook groups and Instagram handles that serve as size-specific resale groups, to apps and highly curated vintage shops.
We started our wearwellagain program to make it easy to discover and buy clothing and accessories originally made by our vetted, ethical brand partners and get them into a new closet. Each piece lists the sizing and condition information, so you can feel confident about your purchase. A big plus: you can be even more sustainable by shopping secondhand that's sustainably made in the first place. (Have some wearwell pieces you are ready to let go of? Read more about trading in your clothing and accessories through the wearwellagain program!)
In addition, secondhand can make quality and sustainable fashion more accessible and inclusive when it comes to budget. Know someone who is considering buying sustainably made clothing but hesitates because of the price tag? Buying secondhand through wearwellagain is a great way to begin building a more sustainable wardrobe.
Get even more mileage out of your secondhand
The care and fit of a secondhand piece of clothing is just as important as a new item! Here are a few simple ways to care for and get the perfect fit from your secondhand treasures:
- Found an irresistible piece that needs adjusting? Head to your local tailor. A simple hem or alteration at the waist can completely change the look and fit of an item of clothing and is often a very affordable option. Building a relationship with a skilled tailor can open up a whole new world of opportunity. Tailored secondhand pieces can fit better than new ones and cost much less!
- Make mending a habit! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a master seamstress to fix a button or mend a seam. Learning basic sewing skills is a wonderful way to not only extend the life of your existing wardrobe but give slightly damaged secondhand pieces a chance to make a statement. Think patching a small hole with a decorative fabric, swapping in new buttons, or embroidering a design along the pockets!
- Keep passing it on! A clothing swap is a wonderful way to bring friends together for a much needed closet refresh. After everyone has chosen their treasures, you can donate the remainder to a local nonprofit or fiber recycling service.