A few months ago, I discovered Overdressed, a book by Elizabeth L. Cline, that explores the social and environmental issues that have arisen as a result of the fast fashion industry. This post will focus on the environmental problems and what you can do to extend the life of your clothing and keep your landfills free of textiles waste.
As a nation, Americans throw away 12.7 million tons of textiles every year. Because about half of our wardrobes are now made of plastic in the form of polyester and acrylic fibres, only 1.2 million tons can be recycled annually. Clothing waste has risen significantly due to the high amounts that fashion- seekers purchase, roughly 68 items per year, based on Cline’s research. If you’re looking for more facts and information about the fast fashion industry, I encourage you to give Overdressed a read.
One of the easiest ways you can avoid throwing out clothing unnecessarily is by consigning pre-loved but unworn items and by purchasing consigned clothing. Even if you don’t wear half of the items in your closet, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t! Here are a few of the amazing consignment/thrift/vintage shops around Vancouver:
My Modern Closet
My Modern Closet is an online thrift/consignment shop run by Chloe Popove, a mover and a shaker in her quest to disrupt the fast fashion industry. Not only does MMC streamline your consignment shopping experience, they also have a focus on featuring women in the local community who are change makers in Vancouver. My Modern Closet also hosts pop-up shops at locations like The Juice Truck and SPACE. Give them a follow on Instagram to keep up with where they’ll be and when!
Photo by My Modern Closet
Hunter & Hare
I first stumbled upon Hunter & Hare over two years ago, a week after they opened. I immediately fell in love with the carefully-curated pre-loved clothing on the racks and all of the local jewelry, accessories, and cards sold at this boutique. Micki and Jo, the two women who started Hunter & Hare, also focus on the community aspect of their business, bringing in local artisans to host workshops, ranging from calligraphy to wreath-making. A couple times a year, Hunter & Hare has a massive sale, marking down items for as little as $5. Proceeds from these sales go towards Women Working With Women and A Better Life Foundation, organizations that Hunter & Hare work with closely.
Photo by Hunter & Hare
Front & Company
At Main and 21st lives the first consignment store I’d ever been to. Front & Company was my first taste of second-hand shopping, and left me inspired to keep up with this way of buying clothes. Front & Company also sells new clothing and shoes. Next door to the clothing shop, there is a gift store that sells beautiful kitchen accessories and funny knick-knacks you never knew you needed.
Photo by Front & Company
Alternatives to buying
Clothing Swaps: Another way to get new use out of old clothes is to organize a clothing swap with a few of your friends. Compile a collection of your previously-worn clothing that’s still in good condition and invite your friends to do the same. Make a pitcher of sangria, have a snack potluck, and swap away!
Flaunt Fashion Library: Subscribe to this online clothing bank to borrow items for special events. Subscriptions to Flaunt Fashion Library include free shipping and cleaning.
Interested in learning more about the fast fashion industry?
The True Cost (documentary)
Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy E Hoskins
Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan
Cover photo by Gracia Chua
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