Slow Fashion: My Favourite Second-Hand Pieces
A shift is happening in the world’s consciousness: mindsets are becoming greener and lifestyles more sustainable. There’s a discourse in which many people partake – with great success: the approach is not just confined to our choice of diet and means of transportation anymore but has started spilling into more and more areas, ushering a new era of holistically sustainable living.
Incorporating sustainability into fashion is becoming a conscious and popular decision with many people and ceases to be a mere by-product of buying second-hand, which was long contaminated with an ugly stigma: poverty.
Now, buying second-hand doesn’t say anything about your bank account anymore; it says something about your attitude. Being mindful, respectful and considerate have become traits considered very attractive, and as the green mindset is becoming more fashionable, so is Slow Fashion. And really, we shouldn’t just buy second-hand on the sole grounds that we can’t afford new clothes. We should do it because it’s the right thing to do – economically, ethically and environmentally.
I’ve always liked buying second-hand simply for the fact that I could get the pieces I wanted for a much lower price. On thrifting apps like Vinted, this works perfectly when you know exactly what you’re looking for. Just adjust the filter to your preferred size(s) and search for the item you want. More than likely, a member of the massive community will have put it up for sale. From shoes to jewellery, you will find everything.
Buying vintage is a different story. Though it is just as sustainable, it doesn’t really fall into the money-saving-category as we are often forced to pay twice the price for “authentic” vintage, rather than making a bargain because buying true vintage is an investment as well as a treat. In most cases, this does actually make sense, for example, for limited designer pieces from the sixties or clothes that had to go through an elaborate upcycling process to be made worth anyone’s money again.
However, some shops have found the luxury-reputation of vintage to be a wonderful marketing strategy: they simply smack an “authentic vintage”-tag on old clothes and call it a day, thinking it fully entitles them to charge double.
I got my Aerosmith tee from Urban Outfitter’s vintage section, where it was offered with an authentic stain on the neck as well as a hole, isn’t that amazing? I do love it, but calling a dirty old t-shirt vintage and selling it for a fifty is a bit of a rip-off. Why I still bought it, you ask? Well, probably because I don't have a brain. You, my friend, now have the unique opportunity to be smarter than me, should you find yourself lured in by Urban Outfitter's shiny selection of overpriced shirts. You're welcome.
Buying second-hand and being more mindful about the amount of clothes I purchase also made me become very apprehensive of buying from shops like H&M, Bershka or, God forbid, Primark. Producing clothes in no time and under questionable conditions, these companies have basically coined the term Fast Fashion: cheap materials, low wages and huge quantities. Accordingly, the quality of their garments is often lousy and not even worth the little money they charge.
Whatever choice you make, whether it's ransacking charity shops, thrifting online or stealing from your best friend's wardrobe (thank you, Annika!) - they are all sustainable fashion choices. And the sheer masses of amazing clothes you can buy second-hand nowadays make buying things new (almost) redundant.