It is no secret that fast fashion is incredibly harmful in terms of the large CO2 emissions and water usage that goes into the manufacturing processes. Cheaply made pieces that are flooding the market are essentially meant to be thrown away. This gives us scary statistics such as 12.8 million tons of clothing ending in landfills every year in the US.
Luckily, the exponential market growth of secondhand culture is helping to alleviate this. This past week, our partners at ThredUp released a report that taken an in-depth look into the rapid rise of resale culture. More and more consumers from all ages, demographics, and cultures have made the switch to thrifting and reselling their clothing. As a resulted, donation & thrift stores and online resale outlets are poised to dominate the fashion world.
At Green Story, we’re excited to have crunched the numbers on the impact that this has on the environment. For example, if everyone just bought one used item of clothing instead of a new piece, we would be able to save billions of gallons of water. Wow!
Let’s break down how resale culture is reshaping fashion…
The Next Generation:
Over the past three years, reselling and thrifting has grown 21x faster than the actual retail apparel market, which means that there are more secondhand shoppers than ever before. The demographic group that is leading this change are millennials and Gen Z, with a 45% growth in buying second-hand in the past two years. The younger generations are a force to be reckoned with as they have created a cultural shift in making second-hand shopping ‘trendy.’ There is no longer a stigma around thrifting being only for those in a lower socioeconomic class. Rather, thrifting is embraced with open arms by all as people associate it with buying ‘vintage’, ‘authentic’, and ‘unique’ pieces.
A Shift to Sustainability:
In our recent blog post on tips for building a sustainable closet, we discuss how secondhand shopping cuts down on fast fashion demands and decreases the amount of clothes that end up in landfills every year. Luckily, it is now the era of being a conscious consumer, where more and more people are becoming particular of the brands they are supporting. In the past five years, the number of shoppers who prefer to buy from environmentally friendly brands has increased from 57% to 72%. Through this, retailers are realizing that resale culture is the future as the demand for ethical and sustainable options continues to grow. Now, more companies are shifting towards creating new business models and products including big names such as Airbnb, IKEA, and Rent the Runway.
Inside the New-Age Closet:
Welcome to the closet of the future, which will be made up increasingly of second-hand items and items from new retail models such as subscription boxes and resale-focused websites. Statistics are now showing that one in ten women in the US are already members of ThredUp. Popular C2C site Depop’s user base has grown from 8 million to 12 million in the past year. These figures show that resale culture is now large-scale, completely changing the culture of fashion forever.
So, What’s the Impact?
Today’s textile industry is both exploitive and wasteful. It is estimated that 108 million tons of non-renewable resources are used every year to produce clothing, making the industry account for quarter of the global carbon budget in the next 30 years. Fast fashion trends are encouraging buying twice as much clothing, but consumers are only wearing it for half as long.
However, resale culture changes all of this by making the current linear model into a circular one. As consumers demand for more sustainable and ethical products in fashion, brands will start to shift towards being mindful of their fabrics and manufacturing processes. Through this, new clothing will start being made from renewable, safe materials and will be designed for longevity. This, in turn, ensures that these items can be resold, renewed, or made into new products.
By fostering this cycle, this is our potential impact:
With the increasing interest, growth, and support from brands and consumers alike, it is suffice to say that resale culture is definitely here to stay. We couldn’t be more thrilled – here’s to shaping the future of sustainable shopping!
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