Three cheers for secondhand shopping: Why we should all be thrifting

Secondhand shopping

I’ll admit it: I was really late to the game when it comes to secondhand shopping. It wasn’t until this fall when I finally gave it a go, in the name of #secondhandseptember and my relatively new “Zero Waste” lifestyle. And you know what? I fell in love with it. It really is transformative, and along with some ethically produced slow fashion, it is the way of the future.

If you’re hesitant, I promise that it’s an enjoyable experience! There’s something for everyone. If you love a bargain and shopping sales, it’s perfect for you. If you prefer a curated approach (I understand that too much selection can be overwhelming!) there are stores for you as well. If you like to stay at home and shop in your sweatpants online, you can shop secondhand that way too! 

Secondhand shopping isn’t a free pass to buy everything guilt-free—we still need to consume less overall—but it’s an empowering and exciting way to shop in the circular economy.

And consumers are here for it! According to a recent Medium article, “The resale market is today worth $24 billion, and it is expected to reach $51 billion by 2023. This market’s growth is something disruptive for the apparel sector, where resale has grown 21 times faster than classic retail over the past 3 years.”

Now, there are certain areas in which secondhand shopping won’t really work, such as undergarments, but thankfully, as we’ve already learned, there are ethical options for those.

Here are a few secondhand shopping options:

  • Consignment stores (typically a bit pricey, but with high-quality options and a curated selection)
  • Thrift shops (typically the biggest selections and most options)
  • Online (“buy and sell” groups on Facebook, apps, and even online thrift stores)
  • Clothing swaps (why not organize one with your friends?)

Selected references and further reading


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