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Giving Preloved Designer Items a New Life
Written by Eco Fashion World - Tuesday, 26 May 2015



Have you ever thought about how big your environmental footprint is? Living habits such as travel, food you eat, things you buy, etc. have a significant contribution to your overall impact, and it is probably more than you would originally think.

While you may do your part to reduce your footprint in many aspects of life, such as recycling or buying organic produce, a huge aspect that many don’t consider is fashion. The fashion industry is one of the largest global users of resources, such as energy and water, as well as a huge producer of wastes, byproducts and other harmful pollutants of air and soil. A study by Levi’s researchers in 2006 determined that the production of one pair of jeans, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted is equivalent to driving 78 miles, water usage is equivalent to leaving the hose on for 106 minutes, and energy usage is equal to powering a computer for 556 hours. Those figures are astounding considering that on average, over 500 millions pairs of jeans are sold in the U.S. alone per year.

While buying from eco-friendly clothing brands is a great way to reduce your impact, another effective way to reduce your textile waste is to bring new life to items that have already been produced, especially by buying second hand clothing as well as donating or reusing your old clothing instead of throwing them away.


Buying new over second hand does have its benefits, of course. You can very easily walk into any RTW shop in your local mall and find tons of options, neatly laid out for you or already styled, according to your size. It is very simple and easy to purchase new, either in person, or online. The problem with that $5 t-shirt, however, is that they are mass-produced, most likely in places where labor practices and wages aren’t what anyone would consider ethically acceptable, as well as every time a new item is produced, there is a huge amount of resources required. In the past, second hand shopping was limited to thrift shops and flea markets. While those definitely have their perks, there are new ways to easily get very high quality second hand items today. You can even find second hand designer clothes to purchase online, with items from top high end designers. Now, second hand purchasing is so easy that you don’t even have to leave your home.

Buying new also gives you the confidence that you are dressing “on trend” and looking stylish. This may be true, but purchasing only from what the retail shops say is “stylish” is pretty unoriginal. Anyone can walk into a shop and pull the outfit off the mannequin. Buying second hand requires some more thought, creativity, and originality. In the end, you will end up with a more original look, perhaps inspired by some vintage yet timeless styles.



Another benefit of buying second hand is the price tag. You can usually get items like new or in good condition for less than half of the price you would pay at a retail shop. Plus, when you buy an item second hand that is still in great condition, you can feel secure that the quality is there. How many times have you bought a cheap item at a retail shop new, only to wash it and have it look worn only a few weeks later? Second hand shopping is like a filter for higher quality items, as someone has already done the first few rounds of testing for you!

Overall, the biggest benefit of purchasing second hand and donating or reusing your old clothes is the notion that you are giving an item new life. Encouraging the reuse of items reduces the need for production of new ones as well as helps to keep waste out of landfills. The fashion industry can have a significant impact on the overall health of our environment and while it is a global problem, the solutions must move from the bottom up.  



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