BY SELLING YOUR USED CLOTHES
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.
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.)
In conclusion, It's good for the environment, your wallet, and it gives you the opportunity to "return" your clothes years after you're done with them and get some money back. Making the effort of changing your habits and try new things might take some energy, but once it's a normal part of your life, it will become as natural as your old habits.
Normally, I would finish a post about shopping by saying, "Think quality over quantity. Clothes should be an investment, not a commodity". Buuuut, if you buy second-hand, you can shop til you drop.