With much of our daily routines on hold for the moment, now, more than ever, lots of us are taking the time to pause and reset and with it, our wardrobes. But the trouble is, the fashion industry has a huge impact on the environment, with very wasteful water processes and high CO2 emissions. Plus, it can also be incredibly wasteful, with as many as 235 million items of clothing being sent to landfill a year. Choosing second-hand can help ease some of the environmental worries about clothes shopping.
As lockdown restrictions increase, more and more of us are choosing to shop online instead. But we know it’s not always easy finding good quality second-hand products from the confines of our homes. So, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to find the best second-hand gems online.
The best clothes to buy second-hand
One of the problems with second-hand shopping is that quality isn’t always guaranteed. As a rule of thumb, think like your grandad and seek out materials that are tougher and made to last such as denim jeans, leather jackets and woolly jumpers. A big bonus of this is that these sorts of items usually look better second-hand too, with the fades on denim looking more authentic and leather looking and wearing better after it’s been battered a few times!
If you can, keep an eye out for clothes made from more sustainable materials like organic cotton or bamboo that are fully biodegradable. Clothes made from synthetic materials like polyester or nylon release microplastics when you wash them, entering our waterways and oceans.
Where to find second-hand gems online
Some bigger charity shops like Oxfam are online too! From women’s clothing and accessories, to mens, kids, and vintage clothes, everything that you can find in your local Oxfam shop is online. Easy to navigate, you can filter by category, size, brand, colour, price and condition. Plus, at Oxfam, all the clothes have been professionally photographed from multiple angles so you can get a clear view to figure out if this is the perfect second-hand pick for you.
Remember, there’s lots of charities out there which would love your financial support, so look out for the ones which support a cause close to your heart.
Though run for profit instead of charity, and usually a bit pricier for the second-hand market, there's plenty of vintage shops that also run online and still fit in with a sustainable and ethical approach.
Online marketplaces like Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Depop are all veritable goldmines when it comes to finding second-hand gems! But keep on your toes, as more recently marketplaces are being taken up with brand new clothing that comes directly from China.
The idea behind swap shops is that you bring along items you no longer want, as long as they're in good nick, and hang them up in a make-shift shop.
While pre-lockdown there were plenty of organised events for this, it’s a little trickier these days. But it’s still possible! Why not organise it informally with a group of friends over Zoom?
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog about finding the best second-hand gems online – we hope you found it helpful! Got any other burning tips or your own? Leave them in the comments below and share your expertise with our community.