Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eco-friendly fashion: second hand shopping can be cheap and chic

Fab second hand fashion finds
My second hand clothing finds: frills, cashmere and organic cotton.
Most people can’t resist a good deal, especially when it comes to clothing (me included). That’s what the business of cheap trendy clothes is feeding on. This “fast fashion” makes it easy for people, especially women, to feed their addiction to stylish clothing as each new season approaches. This habit, or hobby, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t sustainable, for ethical and environmental reasons.

The tragedy of the clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh reminded the Western world that the appetite for fast fashion has a cost that isn’t coming out of the shopper’s pocket, that there are ethical issues associated with producing ultra-cheap clothes in up-to-the-minute styles.

It’s common for cheap clothes to be barely worn before something more eye-catching comes along and there is a lot of perfectly good clothing hanging in closets or tucked away in basements (mine included). Often clothes get tossed instead of mended. And don’t forget, there is an environmental cost to producing textiles (pesticides used to grow cotton, water, dyes and chemicals used in the fabric-making process).

Second hand clothes shopping lets you splurge and purge

If you love to shop, and clothes are your passion, there are more sustainable ways to feed your habit. There are all sorts of second hand clothing options that you can add to your shopping mix that will save you money and spare the environment.  

I have friends who are committed Frenchy’s shoppers and they have great wardrobes to show for it. Being a regular has its perks since you’re bound to come across great finds from time to time.  But I know Frenchy’s isn’t for everyone and I lack the patience to sift through the bins. 

We’re great fans of Value Village (Frenchy’s on hangers) for basics, especially kid’s clothes and often sports equipment like soccer cleats and skates.  

My best second hand clothing shopping experience ever was a recent trip to Exchange on Germain. This is boutique-style second hand shopping: a charming store with a good selection of higher-end, stylish clothing and shoes, including men’s clothing.

Eco-friendly fashion - second hand shopping can be cheap and chic
Another second hand find: cashmere sweater.
I found the prices to be great for the quality of clothing and came home with a couple of cashmere sweaters, a knit dress and a dressy t-shirt for a little over $100.
Even better, I was able to leave behind several of my gently-used clothing items that I just didn’t wear anymore. (If they sell I’ll get 40% of the selling price).

Getting your neglected clothing back into circulation is a great thing to do for the environment and the community. Food banks, some churches and other non-profit organizations can make good use of your castoffs.

Boutique consignment shops like Exchange on Germain (on Germain Street, in Saint John) offer you a way to make a little money off all of those great clothes hanging in your closet that never get worn.  

Second hand clothes shopping gives you the best of both worlds: splurge with a conscience, and purge your closet.  

Other local shops:
The Hospice Shoppe


Laura said...

That pink cashmere halter is amazing! The majority of my shopping is done second hand - it's a fabulous way to build a wardrobe and be socially/environmentally conscience!

jill brock said...

Love your new look Bridget. I mean the site but the clothes look great too!

Unknown said...

Amazing website! Your style is so contemporary in comparison with many other writers. Thank you for writing when you have the opportunity to, I will be sure to save your Taps Sale!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing.

The designs are just superb, Jeans & the dresses below that are superb.

I totally agree to the point that dresses which can be recycled is good for everyone.


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