BY SELLING YOUR USED CLOTHES
This is a new series in the eco-style genre, focusing on several ways to live a more sustainable and ethical fashion existence. The goal is to help improve the fashion industry by sending them a message, one changed habit at a time.
To help the rookies make the transition over to "slow fashion", I will bring attention to some of the great ways you can lessen your carbon footprint, and prove that it's more easily attainable than you would think.
In this post I will share how (the beautiful and talented singer) Lise Mæland and I, tried what it was like selling our used clothes at a vintage market, "Vestkanttorget" in Oslo, Norway.
The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just 20 years ago. As new clothing comes into our lives, we also discard it at a shocking pace. 2/3 of the clothes produced each year, end up in landfills within the end of that same year. The fact that clothing production has doubled only in the last 10 years, makes that an even bigger environmental problem that just seem to keep growing. The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone. Historically, clothing has been something we have held onto for a long time, but with cheap clothing now abundantly available we are beginning to see the things we wear as disposable. The result is, massive productions and a lot of resources used, for things we use briefly and then stow away or throw away to buy new stuff as the trends change.
About 4.7 billion pounds of clothing are donated by Americans each year. Only 10% of the clothes we donate to charity are considered good enough to being resold in the retail store. The rest of that ends up in landfills, some of it is recycled into rags and insulation, and some of it ends up in the markets of Sub-Saharan Africa where it collapses their own clothing industry. In the last 10 years, local industries, such as garment-making and tailoring in these countries, have collapsed, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed. People will argue that the second-hand clothing industry in Africa is booming, but the global trade of second-hand clothing is a multi-billion dollar industry for developed countries. With our clothing waste being sent overseas by the tons, there’s little chance of African countries, as a whole, developing their own textile trade. Over one-third of Sub-Saharan Africans wear second-hand, and the reality is that for as long as the second-hand clothing industry thrives, African economy is unlikely to improve.
Another important thing to consider, is that most of the clothing being produced in fast fashion is not biodegradable, and end up at garbage dumps where it release toxic fumes into the air for about 200 years.
Maybe it's time western society took responsibility for the damage it's causing the world as a whole, and not depend on third world countries to keep "paying" for it by keeping their standard of living low, so we can keep ours high? Maybe we should start buying and selling our own used clothes and create a circular economy, so that Africa too can get to raise their standard of living and create their own industry, instead of only having to wear our scraps? And don't even get me started on the state of the garment workers rights in Asia, but I'll leave that topic for another post. (Or you can read more here.)
Luckily, as the general public has gotten more and more environmentally conscious about what they buy, second-hand has become just another great way of being able to shop guilt free while lowering your carbon footprint. Buying second hand fashion has gone from being a thing for the people who couldn't afford new clothes, to becoming a full blown trend for the fashionable. Vintage shopping has actually been a source of originality for the fashionistas for quite some time now. As fast fashion has grown and trendy clothes has become more accessible, the risk of wearing the same has increased and by association become less exclusive. Exclusivity and originality has always been the drive of fashion, and you need to be an original, as well as one step a head to be a trend setter. The reason why second-hand clothes is so sustainably fashionable, is that you're getting a one of a kind piece that you won't see on anyone else in your close proximity. In short, second-hand clothes offers the exclusivity of high fashion with the respectability of vintage.
I actually loved having a little "pop-up, second-hand shop" for the day. It was so much fun! Not only did I get to spend the day in the sun with my friend, but it also felt great to get some money back for the clothes we didn't have use for anymore. The best part however, was knowing we were doing something positive for the environment by giving our clothes a second chance at life, as well as contributing to a circular economy. Especially since some of the clothes we were selling were second-hand bought to begin with, which makes them third-hand clothes, I guess? Afterwards we donated the leftovers to charity. This is definitely a thing I'm going to repeat, and now that I've tried it once it doesn't seem as complicated as I originally thought it would be. Lise had done it before, so I greatly benefited from her experience, which made it a lot more straight forward as I came prepared. All you need to do, is to search the internet for places to sell, like this "vintage market", figure out how much it cost to have a stand there, bring you own paper, markers, clothing racks, hangers, and tables. These items are very inexpensive at IKEA for those who don't already own it. Bring water, a snack, and cash for the payment and change. The Paypal app is also a helpful tool. The only downside, is that you have to pay 50 euro to be able to sell there, even if you have your own racks, tables, and hangers. So, you will have sell for more than that sum to earn something. In my opinion, it should be cheaper, so that it will encourage more people to try this. Norway is an incredibly expensive country though, so it's hopefully more cost-efficient other places.
WOULDN'T YOU RATHER BE
want to know why you should change to an eco-friendly
and ethical lifestyle? READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION POST
BY clickING here.
Sources: The documentary "The true cost" movie, "Fair Trade: The first step", and the series "Sweatshop", https://www.one.org/us/2014/03/14/what-really-happens-to-your-donated-clothing/
ETHICAL AND PERSONALIZED STYLE, FOR A "GOOD FOR YOU" WARDROBE.
Idealist style is a website and "slow blog" dedicated to ethical fashion and personalized style, including tips on how to find your very own "slow fashion" style by using color analysis, the body types system, and other slow fashion tips.»