The Trajectory of Clothes and Fashion: My Two Years in the Industry

After finding myself in the men's section of clothing at Goodwill, I could not believe the number of good quality clothes that were donated. Clothes that retailed for $70 or more at one point in their life hanging on the rack for $5 to $6. "What a steal," I thought to myself. The truth is, although I bought a few second-hand garments on eBay when I was 17, before this moment I don't remember ever stepping foot in a Goodwill or secondhand store before.

I thought, if you have the luxury of time and money, then why even shop secondhand?

Wearing secondhand has been wrongly stigmatized. Fast fashion has made new items so cheap that makes it even more tempting to continue heading straight to buying only new items. The truth of the matter is, my team and I were ignorant when it came to the effects of fashion and how wasteful it truly is until we moved forward with this project/company.

We did a study with all of our friends, thirty-plus people including our team. We asked if they used more than 50% of their closet. The majority of them said no. It was a shocking revelation. Studies suggest that less than 30% of our closets actually get used throughout any particular season. What's happening is, essentially, we as consumers are hoarding clothes, hoping to one day wear what we have. Saving pieces for a special occasion or particular season which causes items to be stagnant.

Our team believes that if we can influence more people to collectively downsize their closets by trading them in and consider purchasing secondhand first, we as a collective have the potential of solving the growing problem of overproduction in textile and reduce waste in the fashion world.

For some wearing clothes, is a way to express our personality and for others, it is just to keep us from being naked. Either category you fall in, there is room to participate in the movement by being more conscientious of our consumer habits. We fully encourage people to express themselves and enjoy whatever brings happiness to them. Although as a consumer, it is our responsibility going forward to try and do the socially responsible thing by checking secondhand options first.

After switching our habits to shopping secondhand first, we found ourselves dressing the same in good condition items while spending less and feeling better about our choices. We upcycle our closets as much as possible, exchanging out pieces that haven't seen much use and buying new unique secondhand goods which help us feel free and expressive. This also helps create a circular marketplace where textiles see longer lives versus finding themselves in landfills or other unproductive places.

The more we all influence our circle to take on such habits, the less stigma there is surrounding the economy and the more sustainable the fashion industry will strive to be. It starts with us.