As we’ve entered a new era of sustainability, there is increasing pressure on the fashion industry to incorporate eco-friendly practices into their production. The response from retailers was overwhelming, with many clothing retailers rolling out products, programs, and plans in line with newfound consumer demand.
Fashion giant, Patagonia has led the industry in sustainable clothing for decades. They're spearheading a green movement through their Worn Wear program, where they repair, resell, and repurpose clothing coupled with a program to send in your old Patagonia apparel for store credit.
Responses from other fashion companies have been highly creative and widely varied. Adidas launched their Parley line five years ago, where they turn plastic bound for the ocean into trendy running shoes. Or H&M, a company notorious for fast fashion practices, announced an annual competition for new techniques to recycle clothes, offering a 1.16 million dollar prize. Gucci took a different approach and chose to only have two seasonless fashion shows a year, encouraging their customers to use their clothing year-round.
While all of these new ideas have helped to contribute to a new culture of eco-conscious fashion, the biggest trend emerging and arguably the most sustainable option are pre-loved fashion marketplaces. These digital clothing marketplaces generally have quality, pre-worn clothing in excellent condition for sale from a wide variety of sellers.
We’ve seen the emergence of secondhand clothing websites from a range of companies such as Depop, Poshmark, Vinted and recently in South Africa Wisi-Oi Marketplace. Additionally, major clothing manufacturers like Asos have launched their own marketplaces for individuals and independent brands to sell their pre-owned fashion.
Although the fashion industry is evolving and introducing new sustainable shopping options, Instagram users appear to be influencing shoppers more than anyone.
Instagram influencers like @EvaMillicentWhitt have built a following by showcasing pre-loved clothing finds and educating people on thrift shopping and ethical fashion choices. Eva also uses her platform to share style tips and even organize thrift box giveaways - encouraging and inspiring people to shop secondhand.
Eva is just one of many Instagram influencers utilizing their large followings to discuss sustainable fashion and breathing new life into pre-loved clothing. Other influencers like @morethanyouraverage not only showcase their stylish pre-owned outfits but also sell them to their followers - making the idea of pre-loved shopping more personal and accessible.
It’s quite evident that over the past few years, the fashion industry has made leaps and bounds towards a more eco-friendly clothing future. This coupled with the personalized approach taken by Instagram influencers to educate and show off stylish thrift clothing combinations has been the encouragement the world needs to make the switch to sustainable, pre-loved fashion.
This has been a strong and exciting beginning to the secondhand clothing revolution. While we don’t know what the future holds, we do know what is important now - so make a sustainable choice and share fashion.
Written by: Mia Celeste