Clothing generates a huge amount of waste in our world; discarded clothing makes up a significant percentage of landfills. This massive industry contaminates land and rivers with toxic dyes and cotton-growing practices. Big brands manufacture in places like India and Bangladesh, hiring women and children for cheap labor in dangerous conditions. We can raise the standard with the choices we make and companies we support. One way to impact is to buy and sell second-hand!
To kick off part one of my discussion on clothing series, I'm talking about shopping second hand and sharing how I designed and hosted a second-hand clothing boutique!
When I first read about the negative impact of the clothing industry on people and the planet I had two responses: 1) to check my attitude about clothing. 2) I felt like "how the heck am I supposed to find good, affordable clothes?!"
First, I shifted to a quality-over-quantity mindset and became more minimal. I also realized how much attaining "more and better" dominated my perspective toward shopping. Looking through my closet this way really gave me a new sense of gratitude and creativity.
Tips: Go through your clothes and ask yourself, "do I love this enough that I would buy it again?" If yes, hang on to it. If no, set it aside. Narrowing my options down to the things I really loved boosted my confidence and optimism.
Also, find some minimalist style accounts to follow on Instagram. It's inspiring to see how they set up their wardrobe and style it many ways. (bonus: they often recommend great clothing companies, too!)
Next, after gathering some inspiration I decided on a few pieces (if any) that I wanted to add to my wardrobe. I'll discuss more about great, fair trade certified clothing companies in part two, but one way I found some of the pieces I wanted to add was through shopping second-hand.
Thrift stores are great for this, but I also decided to host my own little shop for a day!
We called it a boutique-style Closet Sale.
Everyone who signed up to sell their clothes responded with a confirmation and an estimated number of pieces they were bringing. I provided hangers, racks and displays and they came with their items tagged (including name and prices).
It was such a fun afternoon! Sipping sparkling lemonade in the sunshine, enjoying good quality girl time, and shopping! We combined all the sellers clothing in the store and checkout. At checkout we would snip the tags and keep them in the drawer. At shop closing time we knew how many items each seller sold based on the tags we saved and divvyed up the earnings accordingly. This format worked really well and I highly recommend it!
This wraps up part one! Stayed tuned and feel free to subscribe below for part two!
Have you ever participated in a second-hand clothing sale? What did you like or dislike about it?
Are you new to the fair-trade and organic clothing conversation? What questions do you have about it?