I wanted to start a series called Coffee Chat,where I discuss various topics. They won’t always be fashion-related. The purpose of this series is to simply chat. To start off this series, I wanted to share with you why I shop secondhand via thrifting, consignment, Poshmark, etc.
I began thrifting because I found myself in a creative rut while working at my last corporate job. I typically bought my clothes from stores like Ann Taylor, Loft, Banana Republic, and J. Crew. While there was nothing wrong with those stores, I felt I was not dressing to express who I was and am. I don’t recall how but, in 2014, I found Karen of Where Did U Get That, also known as Karenbritchick, and fell in love with her style and tips. If you haven’t heard of Karen, she is a passionate advocate of thrift shopping and vintage shopping.
This is one of the very first videos of hers I binge watched.
I was hooked.
I began shopping at thrift stores near me, found pieces I fell in love with, and even started an Instagram account and a YouTube channel sharing my finds (YouTube channel no longer exists, but I post regularly on Instagram).
Then, out of curiosity, I began looking into the benefits of thrifting and shopping preloved pieces. I knew I was saving money, finding unique items, and contributing to charitable programs and causes. But I wanted to know if there were more.
Let’s start with a bit of math. According to the Saturday Evening Post’s article titled“Ready-to-Waste: America’s Clothing Crisis,” the average American throws away about 81 pounds of clothing on an annual basis. (Read here) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that, in 2014,in the U.S., about 136 million tons of municipal solid waste were landfilled. Of that 136 million tons, rubber, leather and textiles comprised over 10%. (Read here)
136,000,000 x 10% = 13,600,000
13.6 million tons in textiles can potentially be kept out of landfills. Unfortunately, textile recycling has not seen the same popularity as glass, plastics and paper recycling.
By shopping secondhand, I am contributing to the effort of keeping the millions of tons of textiles out of U.S. landfills and reducing the harmful environmental effects of the clothing industry. Did you know that clothes comprise the second largest group of pollutants in the world? The Northeast Recycling Council stated that the pesticides used to grow cotton, toxins found in dyes and the energy-intensive manufacturing process can cause hefty harm to the environment and public health. (Read here)
I will admit that I still buy new clothes. However, I am now better educated in how to dispose of clothing items. (I can discuss those methods in a future Coffee Chat) Also, most of the time, I do try to shop secondhand before resorting to buying brand new pieces.
I hope this post sheds some light on my mindset as a lover of fashion. Share in the comments below – did you know about the benefits of shopping secondhand?