More and more, you’re hearing about thrift shopping, clothing swaps and when buying new, investing in good quality sustainable clothing. The world is changing and for the better. Having an abundance of stuff is now considered by many as a burden and we are looking for ways to live minimally, mindfully, economically and ethically.
Fast fashion is on the out, and stores like H&M, Forever 21, Zara and Joe Fresh to name a few are losing their luster quickly as more consumers become aware of the true cost behind purchasing cheaply made clothes. It is not reasonable to think you can buy a t-shirt for five dollars on sale and believe the person who made the same shirt received fair and equitable wages (let alone made the shirt in a safe working environment).
With our minds being inundated with information from social media, emails and advertising, people are finally waking up and seeing what really matters in life. We are seeing the impacts of fast fashion on this earth and how it is contributing to the destruction of our planet. Secondhand textiles are so abundant, there are not enough humans to wear all the clothing which is being given away. Think about that for a second; Westerners (in particular Americans & Canadians) are buying so many clothes and giving so many away, there are not enough people on earth to wear it all. What does that mean for the earth, well, it sadly ends up in our landfills.
Above is an image of a heap of second hand clothes not to be sold but likely to be burnt or put in one of our landfills. The amount of fast fashion being rolled out and purchased is not sustainable with an average of five wears before being tossed or given away…
The problem with fast fashion besides it being cheaply made, workers being treated poorly and given miserly wages, the real kicker is the average person wears a fast fashion purchase a maximum of five times before giving it away.
I was recently at Frenchy’s which is a secondhand chain in Nova Scotia, and I was floored by how many clothes on the racks actually had original tags, as in the clothing was purchased and never worn! Who has that kind of money to spend, when you are buying clothing, and either forgetting about it or changing your mind and then giving it away? Apparently, a lot of women do! I found a few JCrew items from last year with original tags. JCrew, which is generally not inexpensive to buy.
Pic from toocbeapblondes.com
While I was rummaging through the racks and bins at Frenchy’s all I could think was “why would anyone buy brand new anymore?”. It is completely unnecessary. I have been thrifting for years and when I first started which was in the mid 90s, it was slim pickings, unless you went to a consignment shop and the deals are not quite as good as the shop owner in addition to the seller (former owner of the clothing) are both getting a cut of the moolah.
Being thrifty is not the same as being cheap. Cheap is when you receive great service and give a lousy tip. Thrifty is when you are being economical and in the case of second hand shopping, you’re also being a conscious consumer and extending the life of a piece of clothing. You don’t have to go to a consignment shop anymore to find a designer label, lots of thrift shops will even receive designer bags like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, if recognized most shops will auction the items off and then donate the proceeds to the charity they represent. For example, Value Village supports Diabetes for Canada.
Even multi-millionaires do not see the purpose in always investing in brand new threads.
Just because something is on sale doesn’t make it right to purchase. I used to be a horrible sucker for sales and spending hundreds of dollars on stuff I didn’t need nor love.
Thrift shopping can be viewed as recycling clothing, but refurbishing something heinous and making it into something über cool like below is probably a bit more accurate. How I wish I was crafty with my hands, but alas I am not. Maybe, you are?
Carpe diem! It really doesn’t matter if you just want to shop the mish mash of thrift racks, recreate and design something yourself or maybe buying secondhand threads is just not for you, and you would prefer to donate to your local community center. It is all good.
I recently read an article stating that fast fashion will be a fading out completely in the next ten years. We can only hope this does become a reality.
Also, this blog isn’t to put anyone down who may love H&M, but rather to get you thinking and to educate you. Only a few years ago I was loving what I called “disposable fashion”, cheap and chic for those “I want, but just want to wear for a season”, but then I watched the documentary on Netflix called The True Cost and I was horrified by my ignorance.
I still have fast fashion items in my closet too, as I like a few items a lot and I will continue to wear them until they wear out completely or I donate them.
The smallest change can make a difference, especially if heaps of us are making small changes.
Peace and Love – Rachel