Fashion. It’s a human behaviour that speaks volumes about the kind of species we are, but plenty of us barely give it a second thought. Even those of us who might never consider themselves to be a fashionista in a million years are, in some way, part of the fashion ecosystem. We all acquire, wear and eventually dispose of our clothes but the way we do so couldn’t be more relevant to the topic of sustainability in the fashion space.
Whether its online or on the high street, fashion is at an all-time boom. The market is currently worth $1.34 trillion worldwide and influencers and celebrities often bring about the biggest trends. A simple ‘I just threw this look together’ mirror selfie can be powerful enough to generate roaring sale demands on its own. And if you’ve not seen the internet go UP whenever Kim Kardashian hits a red carpet, then are you even online at all? Joking aside, this is actually really important – when celebrities favour a look, it’s often just a matter of days before mass-produced and low-cost replicas are being sold in the ‘fast fashion’ space. And sadly, this can be the point where fashion loses its innocence. It is made cheaply and priced to sell quickly, but this comes at a huge price. According to research by The Guardian in 2019, “one in three young women, the biggest segment of consumers, consider garments worn once or twice to be old”. So, what happens to these old clothes? The simple answer? Landfill. Less than 1% of used clothing is recycled.
However, it’s heartening to know that there are a growing number of sustainability savvy fashion lovers out there. Stephanie Graca da Costa is a student of digital design at Global Academy in West London and a self-confessed fashion fanatic. She is one of a huge number of young people who have shifted from the quick hit of fast fashion to discovering the joy of hunting for and selling one-off items on sites like eBay, Vinted and Depop. “They are the best ways to start selling clothes,” she says. “I also follow a lot of girls on Instagram who have websites where they just sell thrifted clothes.” The beauty of shopping this way means that the clothing has a very clear lifecycle, which can be extended further if you sell the items on again once you’re done with them. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Quick new looks that no-one else has, bought sustainably and that can give you some cashback when you sell them on? Where do we begin?