SURGE IN SECONDHAND
by Taya Breda
The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of carbon emissions. Thrifting decreases the demand for new clothes therefore shrinking the carbon footprint. Due to the growing popularity of recycling and reselling clothing, brands such as Levi’s have begun to do their part as well by starting programs such as their buyback program, where they will pay for older styles in order to repurpose the denim and use it in their newer items. The Brand President of Levi’s, Jennifer Sey, says that “Ultimately, Levi’s denim is meant to be worn for generations, not seasons”, which has definitely proved to be true over time.
Professor Anya Kurennaya at the Parsons School of Design explains it best. She says that this surge is in reaction to “the sheer amount of production taking place." The general public, to some degree, is aware of overconsumption and many want to step outside that. Secondhand shopping allows them to access the kinds of styles they want within a budget they can swing and doesn’t pose as much of an ethical problem.
Between the mass amount of closet cleanouts that occurred over the past year and a half and the already growing popularity of secondhand shopping, the number of first-time secondhand shoppers grew by 33 million in 2020. For some, it has been a change made due to necessity, but for others, the change was made due to the trend’s growing popularity.
In the last few years, apps such as Depop, Curtsy, and Thredup have gained popularity due to their easy to use platforms and they are expected to earn $41 billion annually by the end of this year. What is also interesting is that 90% of users are less than 26 years old, meaning there is a specific generation that is really interested in the rise of secondhand shopping.
Social media has only allowed this form of shopping to spread. Influencers on Instagram and Tiktok post their thrifting finds on their platforms and continue to make thrifting feel unique and trendy. Some even include their tips for thrifting and their thoughts on why it is important. YouTuber Emma Chamberlain often posts videos on thrifting and strongly believes that “Leaving the world in a better place than when we found it means to just do your part personally, ever since I started getting into fashion, thrifting has been my favorite resource to build my closet. There’s something creative about it. There’s no trend racks, there’s no guidelines."