A while back I was scrolling through TikTok when I came across a video where someone was talking about sustainable fashion. In the video, they were saying that the Zara and H&M clothing that is currently sitting in your closet is more sustainable than if you would buy clothes from a sustainable brand. This sounds confusing, right?
We know that brands like Zara and H&M are highly unsustainable and ethical. However, they explained their statement further by saying that even sustainable fashion brands have to use materials, energy, and water to make the clothes. Even though the clothes from Zara are made unsustainably and unethically, they are already made and are hanging in your closet.
So throwing the Zara clothes away, and adding them to landfills, while buying clothes from a sustainable brand that will need to use materials and energy to make the items is not necessarily the way to sustainability.
I find this a rather good explanation of how we should look at fashion. It stresses the importance of using existing things instead of buying new ones.
While it is best to keep reusing the same clothes over and over again, this is not feasible for most people. Sometimes, we want different clothes and that’s also fine. However, to be as sustainable as possible we need to look at already existing materials.
This is why thrift shopping is an amazing solution. In this blogpost, I will discuss three online thrift shops were you can find some amazing items.
Vinted is a quite popular peer-to-peer platform here in the Netherlands. People can sell and buy second-handed items such as clothing, shoes, and accessories on this website.
The platform was developed in Lithuania in 2008 by Justas Janauskas, Mantas Mikuckas, and Milda Mitkute. Soon after the company also developed an app version for mobile use. Currently, Vinted has a Dutch CEO named Thomas Plantenga.
Vinted has a huge assortment of items, including designer items.
It works as follows. Say you’re interested in selling your clothing items or some shoes maybe. You take pictures of the items that you want to sell and download them into the app. Fill in what brands the items are from including, size, color, and how often it’s worn, and decide on a price.
Tip: don’t make your price too high because otherwise, no one will buy it. Then wait until you get a notification that someone has bought the item. The buyer will pay for the label so you only need to pack it and then send it to the buyer.
If you want to buy something it is even easier, because you just have to find something you like, pay, and then wait until it arrives.
It is important to note that since Vinted is a peer-to-peer platform, the packages will not be examined by Vinted. Therefore, there is a (unlikely) chance that your package will not be what you expected it to be.
Click here to visit Vinted
Like Vinted, Depop is also a peer-to-peer platform where people can sell and buy clothes from each other. The concept is very similar to that of Vinted, however, on Depop the items are often quite unique. There are vintage designer items and even items that are created or upcycled by individuals.
Depop was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Simon Beckerman. The company became quite popular rather quickly and is mainly popular among individuals under 26.
In 2020 Etsy acquired Depop for 1.6 billion dollars. However, Etsy announced that Depop would remain an independent standalone company (meaning it would operate on its own).
The app uses an interface similar to that of Instagram. Sellers can post pictures of their products, along with descriptions and prices. Users can follow each other so that their favorite sellers appear on their feed.
Even celebrities have used the app to sell their fashion items.
Click here to visit Depop
I don’t know about you, but I love to look at designer items I cannot afford. Luckily, Vestiaire exists. Like the other two apps, this app is a platform to sell fashion items. The big difference, however, is that all items are certified designer items! On this website, you can find designer items for every single designer brand that you can think of. The best part is that all items on Vestiaire are checked on their quality and authentication.
Vestiaire was founded in 2009, and its headquarter is currently in Paris. The company is a certified B corporation. B corporation certificates show that the companies not only strive for their financial worth, but also for that of the people and planet. Next to this, Vesitiaire’s mission is to turn the fashion industry circular.
It is important to note, that while most items are discounted, they can still be relatively expensive because of the designer brands. But, you never know when you find your unicorn!
Click here to visit Vestiaire Collective
While I certainly use the apps and websites that I have mentioned there are some important things that need to be discussed in regards to companies like this.
- It is not uncommon to find items with a card still on them. This also includes many fast fashion brands. The sad truth behind this is that some people buy huge amounts of clothing wholesale and sell them for profit on websites like this.
- Some time ago Depop was in the news because people were outraged about some of the sellers on the app. Stories came out about sellers who would go to thrift stores, buy many clothes, and sell them for a higher price on Depop. People said that this was highly unethical, because not only are you selling people clothes for much more than they are worth, but you also take away clothes from lower-income households that need to shop in thrift stores.
So while these apps have positive aspects, we also need to be aware of some of the downsides.