I decided to visit OXFAM this 2021 to have a clear picture of the second-hand clothes online sourcing process as part of my birthday week. Indeed a volunteering experience, I will never forget for sure!. The second-hand market is growing rapidly especially, in the U.S, where it’s projected to triple the next ten years, from $28 billion in 2019 to $80 billion in 2029. The younger community is mainly driving the change of mindset when purchasing pre-loved items. Also, the General Manager of Ebay’s UK business reports, ‘this market is largely driven by consumers up to the age of 30’.
1. Boost the clothes lifespan
The lifetime of a clothing item is 2.2 years in the UK, and a garment is worn seven times a year on average, meaning that a single garment will be worn 3-4 times a year for only two years before its disposal. The truth is as critical as it sounds, but I am here to encourage you to be more conscious when shopping for non-lasting garments or cheap clothing. Second-hand clothing offers high quality and, it also extends the garment lifecycle giving the garment its opportunity to circulate in the economy and the endless consumption loop.
2. Reduce fabric waste
Around the globe, only less than 1% of the landfill clothes are recycled into a new garment Ellen MacArthur foundation reports. In the US alone, 13 million tonnes of clothes went to the landfill in 2017. However, globally the figure is seven times greater with a total of 92 million tonnes wasted. Also, this figure it is estimated to potentially reach 113 million tonnes by 2030. On the bright side, the introduction of second-hand clothes business models helps consumers to reduce fabric waste.
3. Decrease water consumption and carbon emission
The fashion industry alone is responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions produced and 20% of the water consumption globally. For example, conventional cotton uses an average of 33,000 litres of water covering the entire manufacturing and cotton growing process to make a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Nonetheless, the total year jean production could power the city of Munich for a year long. WOW, I know!. Therefore, when purchasing pre-loved items we disrupt the production process of new garments while protecting our planet.
4. Second-hand clothes add trendless pieces to your wardrobe
When we buy second-hand clothes, we add old-fashion pieces to our wardrobe adopting, a more trendless cycle. This behaviour also means that we don’t need new clothes every season, or for every occasion when seasons changed. Indeed, second-hand platforms offer garments from the old season no longer in the market, and since fashion trends come and go, you might find trendy pieces, indeed from the past seasons. My grandmother said once fashion is not what you wear, but how you wear it. I am a true believer, would you agree?
5. It helps your wallet
Probably one of your favourite benefits! Second-hand clothes can be a lot cheaper than new garments and also better quality. During my volunteering experience at OXFAM, I realised that 99% percent of my listed garments were either new or used in very good condition. Most of their fabrics were viscose, cotton, linen, and polyester blends (t-shirts). Also, the vast majority belonged to slow fashion brands where quality is a predominant factor. Indeed, second-hand clothes will offer you quality at a much affordable price.
6. It can help raise money to fund incredible projects
Charity shops that sell second-hand clothes fund life-changing projects. For example, Cancer Research UK aims to reduce the number of cancer deaths. Mary’s Living & Giving Shop for Save the Children helps transforms children’s lives. British Heart Foundation the UK funds research into heart and circulatory diseases. OXFAM helps to end poverty, to mention a few.
Donate your unwanted clothes, now!
We are an essential player in the second-hand cycle since we can participate either at the beginning or at the end of the process, donating items to charity shops or purchasing pre-loved items. Are you already part of the cycle? I have donated and bought items from charity shops that are in perfect condition! However, I am pretty new to the second-hand clothes market but can not wait to play my part.
Share here your thoughts about second-hand clothes, want to hear youuu
Hasta la vista #Fashiongeek