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Second Hand Clothing – why & why not?

Loved or not

Whether it was loved before it ended up in the charity shop or not, second hand clothing sounds better as preloved clothing in my head.

It has become rather fashionable to buy used clothing & I love how the trend is slowly changing. But do you wonder why people are doing it or why it’s necessary?

chairty shop selled preloved clothes

Why do people buy second hand clothing?

There are a wide range of reasons why second hand clothing or preloved “fashion” is gaining strength. Here’s a short list of reasons that caught my attention.

Whatever be the reason, it means a booming second hand clothing trade.

Is buying second hand clothing a new trend?

No, it’s not. second hand clothing has been bought and sold since medieval times. It was quite a profitable industry. But it was not just buying and selling that happened. Second hand clothes were dismantled and refashioned to suit the new buyer.

Many couldn’t afford the original French & Italian fashion and it was way too exclusive. So, the discards of the elite became a new way of having something beautiful at a fraction of the price. European second hand merchants would buy & sell vast amounts of second hand stock making this a profitable business model. So, this was the 17th century’s version of frock-swap!

"Samuel Pepys, though vain, was not too proud to sport a second-hand accessory of quality which he could not afford to buy himself".

This is a quote from Samuel Pepys who lived in London in the 17th century & wrote detailed diary entries of life as a Londoner. It tells you how thriving the second hand clothing market was back in the day.

News flash

Did you know the second hand clothing market was the precursor to readymade garments? Brands evolved to make clothing more accessible / affordable and started mass production of clothing.

ways to conserve water laundry | clothes alteration

What makes second hand clothing eco-friendly?

Two reasons really.

How do you buy second hand clothes?

1. Shopping online

Shopping online is popular. An amazing range of platforms now provide a great selection of clothes from adults to kids.

  • vinted – one of the most popular apps for buying, selling or swapping your preloved clothes. there’s a service fee for buyers to pay but free for sellers.
  • depop – another popular app for buying and selling. it’s mainly app based but has a website version to add listings. there is a flat 10% service charge for sellers when the item sells.
  • eBay – an oldie but a goodie. easy to use and great place to find a replacement for your favourite jacket.
  • Facebook Marketplace – works well for a localised search and finding items within your neighbourhood, though you can request sellers to post items to you. there are no charges to buy or sell on this, so makes it a cost effective way to sell your clothing.
  • Shpock | The Joy of Selling – mainly app based, but has a website to list your products and upload photographs. again, this works well for a localised search, but you can request sellers to post items to you. you can list your items for free with an option to upgrade your listing for a free.
  • classifieds based sites – there are quite a number of classified sites like Gumtree, preloved and your local newspaper

2. Clothes swap party

  • Swopped – their website claims, you “gain access to the worlds largest wardrobe”, by signing up with them. there are few hoops to jump through before you can start swapping through them. to begin, you need to send them your items which would be evaluated by their team. based on their assessment, you get store credit to buy from their collection. i have never used their site, so i cannot vouch for any of this.
  • Look through events listed on Eventbrite website for your local clothes swap party – Clothes Swap Events | Eventbrite 

3. Renting

  • Front row UK – high end of the market where you can rent designer brands. but you need to go to their mayfair store for a design consultation and rent them out for 3/5 days.
  • Rotaro – new designer clothing available for renting at a fraction of the price and it definitely looks very enticing. you also have the option to buy the item if you really like it. you can rent from 4 days to 14 days and they are definitely seem to be focused on the sustainability aspect of fashion.

Can you second hand clothes for FREE?

Absolutely. This is my favourite way of getting new clothes. This is also most sustainable way in some respects.

  • When someone is offloading their wardrobe, most people will try and sell their best clothes. Some will donate. But what they can’t sell and/or don’t want the hassle of selling, will usually gift it to someone else. Make friends with such people 😂 and get the clothes for free.
  • Freecycle + trash nothing – you can set up alerts with keywords for things you are looking. And this is not just limited to clothes, but any manner of things from garden plants to electronics. this is an amazing resource and one of my favourite eco-friendly ways to decorate my hom

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