The Mindful Materialist
Second Hand September and Online Vintage
This September, Oxfam is inviting everyone to opt for second hand shopping over new. Launched last year, this initiative is part of the global fight against fast fashion and unsustainable production.
The average lifespan of a piece of clothing is just 3.3 years. In Australia, we throw away 6000kg of clothes and textiles every 10 minutes! And almost a quarter of us throw away an item after only one wear. We shop 60% more than we did in the year 2000, but we keep things only half as long. By shopping second hand, you can give clothes a second life and keep them out of landfill. You can also reduce the amount of resources you consume – did you know it would take you 13 years to drink the amount of water needed to make just one t-shirt and pair of jeans? You’ll also reduce the demand for virgin resources such as cotton or oils for synthetic fabrics, as well as the chemicals needed for dying fabrics. Plus, you’re likely to snap up a bargain or discover vintage treasures while you’re at it!
Where to shop?
I wrote an article on Britt’s List for second hand and vintage shopping in Melbourne which you can check out here. But if you’re currently in lockdown, like I am, then online is the next best thing.
Online General Marketplaces
Some great places to start where you don’t need to sign up or have an account are some general marketplace websites. These include eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. On each of these sites you can filter for the location and budget, as well as any extra information like gender, size, style and so on. They’re a great platform to sell on as well. If you’ve got a Facebook account, then you can easily sell anything from the palm of your hand.
Online Curated Fashion Marketplaces
While the general marketplaces offer a wide variety of items, they can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to fashion. If you’re looking for something more specific or you want to browse through a curated collection, then these second hand fashion marketplaces are for you. The Closet is Australia’s largest online retailer of second hand clothes. They also support the Brisbane charity Dress For Success which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing professional clothing, training and support. Another online marketplace is the Melbourne-based Reluv. They check each garment by hand so you can rest easy knowing your purchase is in good condition. They also have a premium section and a plus size section, so there’s something for everyone. Mottainai is another option for bargain purchases, with quality photographs and a clothing exchange program. Unfortunately, all these platforms only stock womenswear. But for all the men out there, did you know that ASOS also has a second hand marketplace? Definitely worth a look for men and women if you’re someone who already loves shopping with ASOS and loves to be on-trend.
Online Vintage Marketplaces
It’s no secret Melburnians love their vintage. With too many vintage stores to count across Smith Street alone, we have an abundance of options to choose from. But while we’re all in lockdown, it’s good to know we can still hunt for vintage treasures virtually. Melbourne’s Vintage Marketplace is a one-stop-shop for all your vintage streetwear needs. They’re known for handpicking each piece and bringing Aussies the best of USA streetwear labels. You can search by brand or category and they also offer gift vouchers for your vintage loving friends. Some of Melbourne’s iconic vintage stores now have online stores too. Retrostar, Vintage Garage and OTC Vintage are all online and ready for you!
Also connecting sellers and buyers through their social resale platform, Depop makes vintage shopping global and inclusive – you do need an account for this one though.
Online Second Hand Luxury and Designer Fashion
I don’t know about you, but when I think about designer fashion, I think of Paris. So it’s only fitting that Vestiare Collective – one of the largest online platforms for pre-loved luxury fashion – should be based in Paris. You’ll find everything from vintage Chanel and Dior to new Christian Louboutin and Stella McCartney. Everything is certified and checked for authenticity, so this isn’t the site for a bargain bin. That said, you can find incredible discounts on a huge range of designer pieces in great condition. Over in the US, The RealReal requires an account, but they stock everything from men’s and women’s fashion, to homewares and kid’s clothing too. The site sells high-end labels and boasts millions of shoppers both in their US stores and their online platform. In Australia, we have our own luxury options to choose from. Sydney-based Blue Spinach and Restyle Closet both offer a range of international, luxury pre-loved items at a fraction of the original price.
You can share your pledge to shop second hand with downloadable posters on the Oxfam website and by using #SecondHandSeptember.