I am all about keeping my closet as timeless as possible, but try as we might, we outgrow various styles whether the size doesn’t work anymore, or our taste has simply changed. Shopping pre-loved and vintage finds can give your wallet a break while opening doors to limited and unique pieces from past seasons, but did you ever stop to think about the good it does for the environment? I didn’t intend to make this post about environmentally friendly shopping tactics, but when you think ‘shopping’, the term ‘eco-friendly’ probably doesn’t come to mind for most, when it should! When I say eco-friendly or sustainable, that doesn’t mean you have to start sewing your own clothing out of burlap, but there is a rise in upcycling efforts in consumers, for good reason.
More and more companies are shifting their focus to sustainable operations, and the core concept of buying and selling past fashion is just that: sustainability. Manufacturing and distributing anything has negative effects on the environment The structure of consignment and reselling has evolved over the years, which has resulted in the companies we know and love, doing their part in the upcycling process, like Poshmark and TheRealReal.
Poshmark is a great source for affordable and pre-loved everything, particularly fashion. Similar to LetGo and Tradesy, buying and selling occurs directly with the buyer or seller. This gives you flexibility as a seller to list or remove items you’d like to sell. As a buyer, ‘liking’ an item on Poshmark, especially if you’re not in a hurry, can result in discounts on already reasonably priced items. That’s because a seller is notified of likes and can offer ‘likers’ a special price. You can also make offers, so if your dress budget is $50 and you absolutely LOVE one that’s listed at $60, you can try your hand at negotiating by making an offer! Having sold on Poshmark myself, I know firsthand that items being sold are often new-with-tags, or VERY gently used, but listed at a very reasonable price considering the nearly-new condition. With a discerning eye, you can find some incredible deals.
On the other side of the spectrum, maybe you purchased a luxury handbag and it was a little too ‘now’ back then for the present, or you’re looking for a high-end bag with a not-so-high-end price tag. That’s where companies like TheRealReal come in. TRR takes in product to not only authenticate items, but to expedite the selling process over numerous categories. They even take in furnishings and décor! ThredUp and Vestiaire Collective operate like TRR, in that they handle sales between seller and buyer. ThredUp takes in your quality items and ‘upcycles’ by paying you for your items and selling them on their website. Check out their description of how upcycling positively benefits the environment here. When an item is sold on Vestiaire Collective, it is shipped to them to be authenticated before being dispatched to the buyer. For pricier purchases, you can rest assured (by using a company like TRR, ThredUp or Vestiaire Collective) knowing you will receive authentic goods as represented online.
In the name of being sustainable, don’t forget to shop your local consignment and resale shops! All the companies I have mentioned are easily accessible online, but keeping your upcycling efforts close to home by supporting local businesses, as a buyer or seller, is also very important in the sustainability big-picture. When you outgrow a size or style of anything, make sure to either resell, or donate when possible, to keep our landfills clear. And circling back to a concept I’ll always stand behind, really consider your purchases before you make them. Is the item good quality? Is it a style you can wear in multiple seasons throughout the year, over a number of years? When you take that approach, an ‘investment piece’ isn’t necessarily one that you spend a lot of money on, it’s one that you put thought into and will get your money’s worth by way of maximum wear.
What resellers do you frequent? And if you haven’t shopped with resellers or consignment shops already, I hope the positive environmental impact YOU could have by doing so has persuaded you to try!