Last week I got several compliments on a sharp, flattering button-up. Several women approached me, desperate to know where they could get one of their own, and I was proud to say, "Durham Rescue Mission." They were floored.
Right before Christmas, in an effort to curb my own compulsion to drive toward big box stores for presents, I went on a thrifting trip where I found several high quality tailored button-ups in perfect condition, two 100% wool coats, and a cool pair of jeans. I left with a new wardrobe for under $45 -- the cost of one button-up (at least!) at places like J. Crew -- filed with items that looked like they were fresh off the rack.
The perks of shopping second hand:
You give perfectly good clothing a second life and reduce the chance of it ending up in a landfill
You reduce consumption. Supply + Demand is a real thing. If we're not shopping, factories aren't making/polluting/disenfranchising
You get something original. When I used to shop at Urban Outfitters, I'd constantly see other people on the street wearing the same 'unique' thing as me, and it just made me feel kinda dirty. Not dirty because I felt competitive, but because it made it impossible for me to tell myself I was somehow outside of the category of people who were contributing to environmental destruction by supporting grossly unethical big box stores
Your purchases directly support people who live in your communities, and helps create jobs. It's easy to forget, but Goodwill Industries is community-based and "...offers customized training and services for individuals who want to find a job, pursue a credential or degree, and strengthen their finances."
Here's what Goodwill accomplished for our underserved communities last year:
As you may have gathered from Daria's post about Victoria's Secret, fashion is devastating. We've both been searching for clothing designers and manufacturers who are working steadily to not only reduce their carbon footprint, but promote actions and practices that have environmental and social impact. On my search I found Style Saint which does something I've never seen before: Every time you hover over a product, a graph populates that shows consumers how much fabric was required, how much time the garment required to make, and how much water was saved using sustainable production practices.
Style Saint says, "Fashion is devastating...
One of the other things I like about this company is that they promote the 'capsule wardrobe' to encourage consuming better and consuming less. Businesses are often afraid of this because one of the cornerstones of business is to create demand and stability by cultivating repeat customers. Doing business sustainably is more risky, but the payoffs are so great, and as I keep hearing from people over and over again who are pioneering ahead and succeeding with sustainable business models:
There's enough for everybody.