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Booming: Second Hand Clothing Sales

In good news for our planet, a powerful force is reshaping the fashion industry: secondhand clothing.


Young woman carrying several designer shopping bags

According to a report, the U.S. secondhand clothing market is projected to more than triple in value in the next 10 years - from $28 billion in 2019 to $80 billion in 2029 - in a U.S. clothing market currently worth $379 billion.


Secondhand clothing is expanding around 20 times faster than conventional apparel retail. Even more transformative is secondhand clothing’s potential to dramatically alter the prominence of fast fashion - a business model characterized by cheap and disposable clothing that emerged in the early 2000s, epitomized by brands like H&M and Zara and, recently, dramatically abandoned by Giorgio Armani, saying "I don't want to work like this anymore, it's immoral."

Fast fashion has grown exponentially over the last two decades, significantly altering the fashion landscape by producing more clothing, distributing it faster and encouraging consumers to buy in excess with low prices. Every day, worldwide, 274 million items of clothing are produced. 99% of those will end up in landfill. No wonder textiles are the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, after food, housing and transport, as well as consuming vast amounts of water and raw materials.


While fast fashion is expected to continue to grow 20% in the next 10 years, secondhand fashion is poised to grow 185%.


The secondhand clothing market is composed of two major categories, thrift stores and resale platforms. But it’s the latter that has largely fueled the recent boom.


Whether you call it secondhand clothing, vintage or pre-loved, the trend is to be embraced as it will greatly, and increasingly so, mitigate the industry’s detrimental environmental impact on the planet. Indeed, the European Commission is calling for an end to fast fashion by 2030.


Thanks to growing consumer demand and new digital platforms like Tradesy, Vinted, ThreadUp and Poshmark that facilitate peer-to-peer exchange of everyday clothing, the digital resale market is already the next big thing in the fashion industry.


If you haven’t explored online secondhand clothing yet, why not give it a go? It will save you money and help save the planet.

 

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