by UM MASH
When spring comes around, baseball, spring break, and finally getting some warm weather comes to mind. Although for a lot of people, spring means that it is yet again time to clean out their closet. For second-hand stores and sellers, however, spring means more donations coming in that consist of clothing and other items to sell.
A lot of people don’t usually think of where their clothes end up after they drop them off at their local donation box. However, both companies and individuals have increasingly been profiting off of second-hand shopping especially due to the quick rise and fall of styles at the hands of social media.
Prior to fashion becoming industrialized, in the 19th century clothing for most was made through hand warping. It would constantly be reused or remade until they physically could not be worn any longer. Clothing often lasted as long as half a lifetime. Even for those that were very wealthy, a change in wardrobe only came once a year on a trip to the fashion capital of the world: Paris. With the development of the spinning jenny and the sewing machine, the clothing industry began to manufacture in mass quantities and made and sold at cheap prices. With the drop-in price, consumption rose and clothing became much more disposable for all classes. This caused the industry to take advantage of this opportunity and have sets of styles or “seasons.” With the rise of fast fashion, the availability of thrift stores, and social media, many in the Gen-Z population have taken advantage of second-hand clothing and the thrifting market.
Looking at the big businesses within this market, many companies such as Goodwill and Salvation Army have supplied many with affordable clothing that consumers wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. They also supply a way for pro-fast fashion consumers to constantly look for a fresh, new look. Specifically, in the thrifting world, Goodwill tends to own the game. In 2020 alone, Goodwill sales reached $171.3 million, which was a 22% increase from 2019; this gives just a small sneak peek on how much the second-hand clothing industry has been growing.
Apps such as Poshmark have been creating a profit by allowing individuals to capitalize on re-selling their clothes. In 2020, Poshmark’s sales were recorded to be $262.1 million in just one year alone. As a college student especially, I’ve noticed that the speed of buying and selling has increased dramatically. It seems as though the lifeline of an outfit or even a pair of pants has become much shorter.
Even here on campus, there are resources to buy and sell locally. Whether it is a Snapchat closet cleanout or something like @rent.the.event_um, there are many outlets for people to sell or rent their clothes. On the other hand, every Friday you can also join the crowd at Oxford’s local Goodwill who are trying to find the perfect rave outfit.