In essentially all stages of their existence, fast fashion items have a negative environmental impact, from the way they are produced to where they end up once they’re deemed useless. In fact, corporations mass produce so many articles of clothing that they surpass demand. Much of these brand new items end up being disposed of as a result. Additionally, the factory workers who craft these garments are typically not adequately paid and don’t work under safe conditions.
Thankfully, more and more awareness is being spread about the dangers of fast fashion. Sites like Good On You, Eco Stylist, and Remake are dedicated to providing in-depth reviews of numerous brands across the fashion industry. These resources help educate consumers on what qualities they should look for from both artisans and their clothing.
Many sustainable and ethical brands charge far beyond what many people are used to paying for clothing. This is because these brands are paying their workers fair, livable wages, providing them with safe workspaces, and sourcing materials that are harder to gather and work with (but are better for the planet). While this is an amazing effort, this turns shopping for clothing into an investment as opposed to a regular hobby. This encourages shoppers to be more selective when choosing new garments, ensuring that they will love their new pieces for years to come.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always an easily accessible practice. Those who can afford to redirect their spending power towards more sustainable and ethical brands certainly should. However, many people are unable to pay a premium for their clothing. Fortunately, shopping secondhand keeps clothing out of landfills while allowing you to stick to a limited budget. You can also intentionally seek out ethically-made clothing through these secondhand resources. Simply pay attention to labels once you’re familiar with quality materials and what brands you might be looking for!
Local thrift shops are only one of the many places you can go for secondhand finds. Vintage shops and online resale companies also provide ways for you to get your hands on something preloved. As an added bonus, they often allow you to connect with community members and clothing curators along the way! Some of the more popular options for digital thrifting include ThredUp, Depop, and Poshmark. Depop and Poshmark allow anyone to sell their preloved goods from the comfort of their home. If you’re unable to bring your belongings to a local donation center but have the ability to ship small packages, these resources might be a great option for you!
Ultimately, donating your preloved goods and being open to purchasing secondhand finds are both fantastic ways to prevent further damage to our environment and ensure that items get as much use as possible. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite local thrift and vintage shops. Let us know in the comments what your recommendations are for ethical and sustainable shopping!