If you’re like me and get eco-anxiety, you already know about our climate crisis, but why does that mean you should shop second hand? Fashion is a creative outlet for many. However, the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters on our planet just behind oil, is responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution and releases 10% of all carbon emissions into the air. While the fashion industry doesn’t have a clear answer for sustainability yet, the goal is for a fully circular system. Right now, the most sustainable way to indulge in fashion is to shop second hand.
It isn’t wrong to want to change your wardrobe or to be thrilled by new fashion trends, but the linear model most brands currently use is responsible for immense amounts of waste. In the linear model, fashion brands and manufacturers have no responsibility for the end life of a garment. Sustainability is complicated and not just a buzzword good for branding. It is about our future. Using your purchasing power and shopping sustainably is the first step in keeping clothing out of landfills and lessening your impact on the environment.
Here are steps to having a more sustainable wardrobe:
- Shop sustainable brands that use Earth-friendly materials like organic cotton or have upcycled or recycled materials. Limit purchasing new, fast fashion items as much as possible.
- Buy well-made pieces. They will last longer in your wardrobe and in the resale rotation.
- Sell items you no longer love or wear. If your items have become unsellable, donate them instead of throwing away.
- Take care of your clothing. Learn to mend.
- Best yet, shop second hand. It’s the most sustainable solution to fashion’s impact right now.
Shopping second hand is a personalized and exciting way to find a special piece no one else will have. You will learn about yourself and style, while helping protect the Earth.
Want to shop second hand? Visit your local Crossroads Trading for a curated selection of second hand clothing, shoes and accessories. Ready to (sustainably) clean out your closet? Learn how to get the most when selling your clothes here.
I’ve been a buyer at Crossroads for nearly four years. When it comes to getting the most out of your wardrobe, my general advice is to shop for pieces with longevity: this will increase the resale value of your clothes when you’re ready to sell them. Fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, and leather will last longer than an inexpensive polyester will. Even better, shop brands that use organic or recycled cotton, or utilize dead stock or biodegradable fabrics like Tencel.
What We Look For
In general, we buy seasonally. However, we also buy the best of all seasons. This means that if you bring in a great leather jacket in mid-summer, we’ll probably buy it, but just at a slightly lower price than in winter.
We follow trends, but our buyers also have a diverse fashion sense. We buy for any style and size as long as it’s fashion-forward and in great condition. We want unique, classic, quality items that represent the community where the store is located.
Preparing Your Clothes to Sell
When you’re ready to clean out your closet and sell your clothes, pull things you know you don’t want. Try on everything you’re questioning. Look in the mirror, but more importantly, ask yourself, how do I feel in this? Then, follow the next steps.
1. Inspect for damages.
Some wear like small holes in a vintage t-shirt may pass inspection, but stains will not. Check for stains across the whole garment. With men’s collared shirts, flip the collar and make sure there are no marks on the neck. Check the inner brim of hats. For both men and women, check a shirts’ underarms and the inside of pants.
2. Wash and fold.
Sprucing up your garments and making them more presentable can bump the price point, like using a Magic Eraser on scuffed sneakers. Always make sure clothing is laundered. Lint roll if necessary. Sew any loose buttons or replace missing ones. Fix a small hole if you know how to sew. A pill remover can revive the look of a fabric. Button, zip, tie, and fold your items to sell into a bag or bin.
3. Sell to Crossroads!
Find your nearest store location and continue to be kind to our planet by selling and shopping secondhand!