This year, the charity Oxfam (which aims to fight global poverty), introduced Secondhand September. This movement urges shoppers to avoid buying new clothing for 30 days and instead, purchase secondhand items. The goal is to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fashion. Because whether you realize it or not, fast-fashion and keeping up with trends has detrimental effects that go beyond the bank account.

How the fashion industry impacts the environment

Consider this: the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world- second only to oil! The production and distribution of the crops, fibers, and garments used in fashion all contribute to different forms of environmental pollution, including water, air, and soil pollution.

Did you know?

  • Making a pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car more than 80 miles.
  • 70 million oil barrels are used each year to produce polyester.
  • It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, enough to meet the average person’s drinking needs for two-and-a-half years.
  • 70 million trees are cut down each year to make wood-based fabrics like rayon, modal or viscose. 

If clothing isn’t recycled, reused, or repurposed, what happens to it? 

The sad truth is that only 15% or our clothing is recycled or donated; most consumers will just toss used and worn items in the trash. In fact, one garbage truck of clothes are dumped in a landfill every second! And synthetic fibers, like polyester, are plastic fibers and non-biodegradable, they can take up to 200 years to decompose! 

So, what’s a fashionista to do?

Well, it starts with environmentally conscious shopping decisions. For example, you could ditch synthetic fibers like rayon, polyester, or spandex, and go for natural ones like organic cotton, linen, silk, and wool. Wear an item more than the low national average of seven times! Choose to buy clothing from environmentally conscious brands– with growing awareness, more and more companies are moving towards sustainable fashion. Try renting your wardrobe! Wardrobe rentals allow fashionistas to snap up new clothes and embrace sustainability at the same time. And, finally, take the pledge by saying yes to secondhand! 

Secondhand retailers are the new ‘it’ thing. In fact, they’ve grown 21 times faster than the wider retail market over the past three years, according to research compiled by GlobalData. Sites like Poshmark and ThredUp are driving secondhand growth, along with Gen Z and Millennials: these two generations are the biggest consumers of used clothing, ever. So, as an apparel reseller, how do you stand out to secondhand shoppers? First, it helps to understand what these consumers are looking for; and second, source what shoppers want. 

The Mind of the Secondhand Shopper

There are several reasons this resale trend is taking off with shoppers; including the growing customer desire for sustainability, variety, and affordability in clothing. Let’s take a closer look:

  • The Conscious Consumer- There’s a growing preference to purchase from an environmentally-friendly brand; not to mention, buying one used item reduces that item’s carbon footprint by 82%. Plus, choosing used reduces textile waste. 
  • Access to New Styles Constantly- Whether it is for social media snapshots or just a desire to wear frequent new styles, purchasing secondhand allows affordable new arrivals for shoppers. 
  • Incredible Value- By purchasing secondhand, shoppers have access to items or brands that would otherwise be out of their price range. 
  • Ease of Use- With mobile apps and personalization, it is just as easy to shop for used clothes as it is new. This is attracting a whole new generation of secondhand shoppers. 

Top Selling Secondhand Items: 

  • Purses/Bags: items like handbags, satchels, large totes, and backpacks
  • Denim: popular pieces include jeans, skirts, and jackets 
  • Footwear: the most in-demand styles include over-the-knee boots, wedges, and sneakers
  • Jackets: puffer coats and leather coats are the most popular
  • Fine Watches: name brands sell very well

So you’d like to join this booming market of reselling apparel or expand your small business beyond Secondhand September, B-Stock is the perfect place to begin. We offer plenty of apparel marketplaces for you to source from including Zulily Liquidation Auctions, QVC Liquidation Auctions, Macy’s, JCPenney Liquidation Auctions, our own private B-Stock Supply marketplace, and more. To register as a B-Stock buyer, read our blog Buying Basics: How to Become a B-Stock Buyer Part 1 to get started! 

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Karen Smith, Business Owner

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