Why Second Hand is the New Black

I’d tried so many times to cut down on clothes shopping.  I even managed a three month stint in 2017 of not buying any clothes or accessories at all.  Yay me!  But eventually the lure of the new season’s must-have dress would get the better of me.  Moving from Barcelona back to London made me confront just how much stuff I had.  The guilt of sorting through drawer after drawer of clothes before the move was an unignorable sign: I had to stop shopping!  It was hurting my bank balance.  And it was hurting the planet too.  I’d discovered that the fashion industry accounts for more carbon emissions than all international flights.  What?! 

The thought of no new fashion in my life at all was just too painful.  So for 2020 I decided on a different approach: I wouldn’t buy any “new” new clothes.  Instead I’d only buy only vintage and second hand.  So much better for my purse and the planet.  I didn’t feel excited about the possibilities but the world of second hand and vintage is not the drab array of cast-offs I’d expected.  There’s an Aladdin’s cave of treasures to be discovered because the second hand world has been transformed. 

Whereas once buying second hand once seemed a bit depressing, it’s now so cool even Kate Moss is involved.   Mossy along with Naomi Harris, Chloe Sevigny and Georgia May Jagger donated clothes to Oxfam for their Second Hand September initiative this year.

A Depop find
In my new old autumn sweater

It’s got much easier to shop vintage.   The app Depop – which is brilliant – lets you search other users’ by brand and size, allows you to like and save items, and accepts Apple Pay.  One of my favourite Depop buys so far is pictured: an & Other Stories jumper which I bought unworn from a Depop user for maybe 25% of the cost of a brand new item.  I’d dismissed charity shop rummaging as too much faff, but Oxfam also now has a website which isn’t quite as good as Depop but still has good search functionality. 

I can’t imagine going back to buying “new” new again.  Second hand is the new black.

Published by jengreggs

I'm a London-based writer and blogger focused on sustainability in fashion. My purpose is to help everyone discover the joy of living more sustainably.

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