The Importance of Second Hand Clothing

With more attention continuously brought to the various devastating effects of the Fast Fashion Industry, second-hand clothing is becoming a more appealing option to the consumer. There are several factors that have led a growing number of people to turn away from fast fashion high-street brands and towards vintage or second hand clothing shops. Firstly, many people have found a personal benefit in shopping second hand. The reduced cost of items means that shoppers are often able to purchase great pieces at a fraction of the original price. For anyone on a budget, or looking for a bargain, vintage or charity shops are a great alternative to the more expensive fashion brands. For those looking to create a unique image, second-hand fashion is a great option. As one of a kind pieces can be found, that are less likely to be duplicated through mass production and selling. Furthermore, shopping in second hand charity shops or vintage boutiques can be a much calmer and easier experience, if the fast pace of busy high-street shops is not appealing. Additionally, buying second-hand clothing extends the life cycle of garments, through either buying or selling of clothing. Therefore, by supporting sustainable fashion, demand is reduced for fast fashion garments. Secondly, the fast fashion industry has quickly become one of the biggest polluters on the planet. The use of toxic substances in the production of garments, and the use of fertilizers in the growing of cotton, both lead to water contamination. This in turn has a devastating effect on local communities and the surrounding aquatic life. Furthermore, the fast fashion industry is a major fresh water consumer. Large amounts of fresh water and petroleum are required in the growing of cotton and the further production and processing of clothing. This in turn causes excessive release of pollution into the atmosphere and local environments. Added issues arise with the increasing use of synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and acrylic, increasingly used in the mass production of cheap garments. Materials such as this take hundreds of years to bio grade, hence further exacerbating the problem. Lastly, the fast fashion industry has a devastating effect on the communities of developing countries, where the majority of this apparel is produced. Factories producing clothing often employ children and young women. Without adequate pay, healthcare, health and safety measures and reasonable working hours, these sweatshops are notorious for exploiting and maltreating their staff. The points mentioned above are only a handful of reasons as to why more people should consider incorporating second-hand clothing into their wardrobes. Not only are there a number of personal reasons to ditch fast fashion, but the positive effect it would have on our environment and people affected by the industry, far outweigh the appeal of a cheap sale item from the high street.

M. Darby