Think Second-Hand First

“Your trash is someone else’s treasure" - Second-hand clothing can work similarly. Secondhand is the utilization of all used clothing, footwear, accessories, books, furniture, entertainment, and beauty.

Fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world. Fabrics are not biodegradable, and the raw material used in manufacturing clothing consume a vast amount of resources, leaving behind high levels of pollution and emissions. Approximately 20% of the world wastewater and 10% of carbon emissions come from the fashion industry, as reported by UNECE.

What happens to our used clothes? 64% of what we purchase ends up in landfills. To purchase used products instead of new ones expands the fabric lifespan and reduces the garment carbon footprint by 82%. The Second-hand market is reducing pressure on virgin resources utilized for making new garments and the number of problems caused by their production and procedure. Brands like The Renewal Workshop, Reformation, and Patagonia take discarded apparel and turn them into upcycled or renewed materials. They prevent massive amounts of materials or products from reaching landfills. It helps to operate a zero-waste circular system, recovering the full value of items already created.

According to thredUP Resale Report 2020, resale is expected to overtake fast fashion by 2029.

Source: thredUP, 2021

The Total second-hand market is projected to grow to almost twice the size of fast fashion by 2029.

Source: thredUP, 2021

Per cent of each age group that bought second-hand apparel, footwear, or accessories. Gen Z is adopting second-hand fashion faster than any other age group.

Resale is set to wing its way, indicate industry specialists

"Even as the retail industry has slumped, dragged down by disappointing earnings and an unending trade war, resale is exploding."

– Forbes

"Before the pandemic hit, the resale market was on track to double. Now, this growth may very well accelerate. Resale sites are coming out big winners as the pandemic plunges the economy. Analysts predict consumers will turn to sites like thredUP and Rebag to clean out their closets for extra cash...and stuck at home and worried about their finances, they’re hunting for bargains online."

– Business of fashion

"There is little doubt that buying habits will change after the pandemic, becoming more deliberate, out of both an economic necessity and a shift in values. The kind of instant gratification represented by so much of fast fashion increasingly seems simply wasteful. Understanding what you have that has lasted (and why it has lasted) will help you make better decisions later."

– The New York Times

"Bargain hunting, environmental concerns and the sharing economy have erased the stigma of used goods at the same time technology has made thrift shopping more accessible, reliable and cool. Even Kim Kardashian West wears vintage designer duds."


Second-Hand clothing made its way to New York Fashion Week 2021

Source: thredUP / Instagram, 2021

Christian Siriano, a fashion designer, sourced thrifted pieces from a resale platform, thredUP for his latest Fall/Winter 2021 collection in New York Fashion Week. Nearly 95% of used clothing and textiles can be recycled and reused.

Also, what is more interesting, is that the resale platform partnered with Siriano to create a sustainable badge of honour that shows you are wearing second-hand clothing.

“With nods to clothing and recycling iconography, we created a logo that stands for the power of thrift. The design is an infinite loop, representing circular fashion and a future where clothing is reused again and again.” – Christian Siriano, Fashion Designer

Source: thredUP, 2021

Secondary Sources

THRED UP (2021). 2020 Resale Report

THRED UP (2021). Who's Thrifting and Why

Fibre 2 Fashion (November, 2019). 3 Fascinating Reasons to Embrace Second-Hand Clothing