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Thrift Shopping As Sustainable Fashion

When I think about writing my blogs I always believe it’s important to begin with the ‘Why’?

To remind ourselves of the reasons thrift shopping, or preloved fashion, is the way forward in protecting our planet:

  • Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined (House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2019)

  • 75% of consumers believe that sustainability is important and one-third are willing to choose brands that help environmental and social improvement. Are you one of the third? You can be.

  • Half a million tons of plastic microfibers, the fibres are found in synthetic clothing when washed, are dumped into the ocean every year - the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles (World Economic Forum)

  • Clothing companies create more than 1 million garments every day – Every day! (Greenpeace)

  • Extending the life of clothes by just 9 months of active use would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each.

This is why at Denim Library, we want to give pre-loved jeans their next chapter.

Thrifting became popular in the late 19th century, just as industrialization and urbanization started to dominate the Western world. Unfortunately, stigma was quick to follow, with prejudice impacting both wearers of used clothing and the second-hand stores themselves.

Fast-forward several decades, and that stigma has been shed. “I got it second-hand” has become a declaration of pride rather than something embarrassing. Pre-loved is also used to describe second hand shopping.

Thrifting is one of the best ways to avoid fast fashion.

As brilliant as some pre-loved stores can be they can also at times seem overwhelming and under organized, though this is often seen as part of the magic of this shopping experience.

But what embodies the concept of extending the lifespan of clothes more than a second-hand store? It’s a win-win experience for the customer as they are getting “new” things, while also helping to keep valuable garments and materials out of landfill.

Whether at your local charity shop, your favourite online store, clothing or dress rental website, stepping outside the fast fashion cycle is one of the best ways to sustainably, yet fashionably, build a great wardrobe.

A thrift store isn’t for the faint of heart. To find the good stuff, you’re going to have to put in a bit of work, this often means trawling through every single hanger to seek out the true gems. Remember, quality is more important than quantity.

If you want to take advantage of some of the most sustainable fabrics, but do so much cheaper, the thrift store is the way forward. You’ll develop a certain finesse over time, where you’ll be able to simply feel the fabrics to determine if they’re quality or not. For instance, jeans made out of 100% cotton have a different feel than jeans made with 98% cotton and 2% spandex. Spandex arrived in our jeans for a few reasons, fit, comfort and reducing cost, however these synthetic materials are not planet-friendly.

Pro-Tip: For many people your neck size is approximately the same size as your waist. So when buying jeans take the ends of the waist band and pop them round your neck to see if it will fit your waist. If the two ends meet the jeans should fit you on the waist.

By choosing to buy pre-loved clothing instead of brand new, you reduce waste, help the planet, and help your wallet. Pre-loved shopping is the ultimate way to live out the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto, which I’ve mentioned before is a favorite of mine.



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