Why Second Hand

Originally posted on December 21st, 2015.

Welcome to my first ever blog post! If you know me (and I’m guessing that you do, since probably the only person reading this will be my sister), you’ll know that most of the stuff I own is second hand and that my reaction to someone saying “Ooh, I like your top!” is “Ooh, thanks! I got it for two euros at a second-hand store!”. In this blog I will be telling you why most of my stuff has been previously used by someone else. If you read my blog, you will hopefully see that second-hand shopping is awesome and will be inspired to buy more used things!

In this very first post, I’ll just make a quick overview of why I think second-hand shopping is important and why I think it’s just the best. The first two reasons are the ones I am most passionate about, and the rest are just to show people that second-hand shopping isn’t a struggle and you don’t have to “settle” while shopping second-hand.

1
A selection of my second-hand dresses

1.       It’s ethical. I’ve always known that most clothes are made in slave-like conditions. After the Rana Plaza collapse where over a thousand garment workers were killed, my eyes were really opened to how horrible the conditions are in garment factories and how few rights the workers there have (if they really have any). I’d rather not contribute to an industry where the rights of people are so blatantly ignored. Just think about it, if you can buy a new shirt for 5 euros, can that 5 euros really cover the cost of making it, transporting it, advertising it, selling it, designing it etc.? No. It can’t. The pay garment factory workers are getting is appalling. If you want a good overview of how cheap, fast fashion is harmful, watch the documentary ‘The True Cost’, it goes deep into the fashion industry.

2.       It’s ecological. Everyone knows that we consume too much and we are using the earth’s resources more than we can. Materialism has become extreme and there’s just so much stuff in this world it’s crazy. The way most clothes are made nowadays is extremely harmful to nature (if you want to find out how bad even just growing cotton is, the ‘The True Cost’ documentary sheds light on this too). Since people are buying so many clothes and they’re throwing them out in near pristine condition, second-hand stores are full of good quality clothes that can be used without adding to the amount of junk and pollution in the world.

 

I’d just like to point out here that second-hand shopping isn’t the sustainable solution to the harmfulness of the clothing industry. In an ideal world, clothes would be made ethically and ecologically and people would only buy what they need, use those clothes until they can’t be used anymore and preferably share clothes with friends and family etc. However, I don’t see that happening any time soon, so in the meanwhile, I’ll make the best of the clothing surplus in the world and get cheap, fun clothes in a way that doesn’t support what the clothing industry is doing at the moment.

 3.       It’s SO cheap! I’ve always been really stingy with money, so my second-hand shopping actually started with me being too cheap to buy clothes even from places like H&M. Imagine getting a bag full of clothes with the price of one shirt. I call that amazing. The fact that second-hand clothes are so cheap also means it really easy to try out new styles; since everything costs around 2 euros, you can buy something you think could be potentially hideous, but see how it works with your other clothes and notice that it’s actually the best thing you ever bought.

4.       It’s unique. You don’t have to worry about ending up somewhere wearing the same thing as someone else, because really, what are the chances that someone else has that same dress that was made in the 80’s? Fleeting trends can’t define your style when everything you buy is at least half a year old: you have to define your own style and I find that extremely liberating.

5.       It’s always an adventure. You never know what you’re going to find when you go to a second-hand store. Sometimes you might not find anything (which I can say, with years of experience shopping at second-hand stores, is quite a rare occurrence), sometimes you’ll almost feel like crying because you found the most amazing clothes for mere cents. And there’s much wider variety style-wise in second-hand stores because they sell whatever they can get, so once again, you’re not confined by current fashion trends.

I’ll be writing a lot more about all of the above points, but I don’t want to overwhelm you in my first blog post, so I’ll just leave it at this for now! Trust me, I have enough to say to fill a whole book (or two) on this subject, so I won’t run out of post ideas for a while.

 

Photo: Helena Lehti

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