Did you know it takes 77 gallons of water to make one new garment? Or that over 100 billion garments are produced each year? How about this statistic? Seventy-three percent of apparel is sent to landfills or incinerated and nearly 95% of apparel that goes to landfills could be reused or recycled. The bottom line is that the growing market for fast fashion is taking a serious toll on the environment. Over the last few years, second-hand fashion stores have become increasingly popular amongst conscious consumers who want to shop sustainably.
Traditional thrifting can be challenging, especially in these socially distanced times, but why not check out these online thrift stores that promise convenience, easy returns and high-quality fashion for a variety of tastes?
Vinted is a peer-to-peer online marketplace and community that allows users to buy, sell and swap clothes, shoes and accessories. Vinted was founded in 2008 in Vilnius, Lithuania, by Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas. When Milda decided to move from one city to another, she found herself with a lot of clothes that she had worn only once. She decided to sell her clothes online and created a website just for her friends and family. But the word soon got out, her site received media attention and it became a hit. Vinted has since grown from one user to 45 million users that sell, buy and swap in 11 European markets, plus the UK and USA. The company has offices in Vilnius, Berlin, Warsaw and Prague.
Depop is arguably the most popular marketplace for Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. This easy-to-use platform was founded by Simon Beckerman, who is also the co-founder of PIG magazine and Retrosuperfuture sunglasses. Depop was originally a social network where PIG’s readers could buy items featured in the magazine. As the platform grew, Simon reimagined it as a global marketplace for preloved items.`
Depop is considered to be a very user-friendly app, which has made it popular among younger users. It also has functions akin to a social network, which most Gen Z and Millenials are already familiar with. The app is sorted by brands, independent designers, vintage or trendy apparel, bags and accessories. Depop offers shipping services within the United States or the United Kingdom only. If you want your items to be shipped to other countries, you can use an independent shipping company.
In 2021, Depop was acquired by Etsy for a whopping $1.6 billion. In statements around the purchase, Etsy’s spokesperson said that Depop enhances their ecosystem with its focus on clothes and appeal to the Gen Z market.
Photo: The RealReal
If you’re looking for luxurious pieces for a discounted price, then The Real Real has it all. Started in 2011, the brand champions sustainability and quality. It aims to ensure that each piece sold through the platform undergoes a rigorous authentication process that tests for quality and authenticity. Because products are typically high-end, the price range tends to fall on the more expensive side—but they’re still cheaper than the brand new. In addition to their app and website, The Real Real has 11 retail stores across the United States; the company ships internationally to 60 countries.
The U.K. throws away 350,000 tonnes of good quality clothes each year, many of which are wearable. Re-Fashion was started to give these wearable, pre-loved clothes a second lease of life. Re-Fashion is an online fashion store that raises money for sustainable fashion by selling used clothes. Women in the UK are encouraged to donate clothes to Re-Fashion. Depending on the original value, between 20% - 60% of the sale price goes to the Rieves Foundation, a charity focused on helping protect the environment through activities that promote sustainable development. Re-Fashion has a great collection of brands and clothes for women of all sizes. It offers nationwide shipping within the UK.
Photo: Still White
According to global fashion shopping platform Lyst’s 2021 Wedding Report, online searches for pre-owned wedding gowns are up 103% since March 2021. Because wedding gowns can be prohibitively expensive, and thanks to the rise in conscious consumerism, second-hand wedding dresses are gaining popularity among brides-to-be. Still White is considered to be the world’s largest wedding dress marketplace. The company’s very fitting and charming tagline is, “Mine Today, Yours Tomorrow.” Still White has over 50,000 designer dresses available, which you can search by price range and size. So, if you plan on walking down the aisle soon, consider picking your dream dress from Still White. And after your big day, you can sell it back through the site.
Want to make money by cleaning out your closet? Enter ThredUp, one of the largest online platforms for women’s and kids’ secondhand apparel. ThredUp’s Clean-Out Closet service lets you order a bag, fill it up with items you don’t use, and then schedule a pickup. The company will pay you for high-end items and the rest of the items are recycled and sold on their site. The company will evaluate your items. While it will sell whatever it feels customers might want, it will only pay you for high-end items. Consider the rest donations to the greater good.
ThredUp has given new life to millions of used clothes, offsetting the environmental and financial costs of fashion. Since 2009, nearly 100 million garments have been processed by ThredUp. ThredUp has also created a first-of-its-kind Fashion Footprint Calculator to help consumers understand how their fashion habits contribute to climate change. ThredUp ships only to Canada and the USA.
Poshmark is a social network through which users can buy and sell new or used clothing, accessories, home decor, pet items and beauty products. Users on Poshmark can build a brand around their profile and create a personal style that can influence other users. Poshmark is both app and web-based with over 70 million users. It is currently only available in Australia, Canada and the US. Poshmark guarantees protection and easy shipping of products sold via their app within those three countries only.
Photo: Encore Clothing
Encore Clothing, based in South Africa, is a consignment store for everything preloved. Encore Clothing offers a boutique experience without boutique prices. This store offers chic, upmarket, high street clothing, shoes and accessories from brands like Zara, Aldo and Country Road, all at a reasonable price. Encore has a wide range of children’s clothes that are sorted by age group. Every item sold through Encore goes through a thorough evaluation process to ensure that they are in good condition and look almost new. The founder Lara Rocchi, a legal professional turned entrepreneur, oversees every piece sold on the platform, ensuring the highest standards. Nationwide shipping in South Africa is available.
Two fashion veterans, Sofia Bernardin and Sabrina Marshall, who worked at Vogue and Self Service Magazines respectively, started Re-SEE in Paris in 2013 to address what they identified as overconsumption and waste in the fashion industry. Re-SEE offers premier vintage and second-hand fashion and luxury handbags curated by the fashion veterans themselves. Re-SEE is fully authenticated by experts and items are restored when necessary by artisans. Their curated collection is shipped worldwide.
The Fifth Collection
Photo: The Fifth Collection