America is going through a clothing crisis, and textile waste management—or the lack thereof—is one of the biggest culprits. The ratio of textile generation vs. recycling and landfilling is shocking, but even more worrisome is the lack of awareness around sustainable production, textile reuse, and profitable thrift shopping.
A report by the Nordic Council of Ministers in cooperation with 13 Nordic exporters showed that used textiles and their global exports save over 18 billion gallons of water and nearly 200 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis. This is just one instance of the benefits of thrift shopping and promoting secondhand clothing usage.
For high-end consumers, thrift shopping is still a taboo, largely due to the misconception that amazing equals expensive. Shopping, for most, is an emotional experience, and consumers hardly make logical decisions when buying anything, be it a t-shirt or a wedding gown.
With thrift shopping, the rationale is to reduce textile waste and our carbon footprint while bringing back vintage fashion. This is the best way to get consumers to set foot in consignment shops and encourage them to rummage through used clothing and other wearable items.
Thrift shopping doesn’t just save money; it also allows consumers to exude a unique style, since it’s highly unlikely that two buyers will find the exact same product in a thrift store. This means more creative potential and inspirational ideas that involve combinations of different clothes and DIY reconstruction of wearable items.
If that’s not enough, secondhand clothing plays a huge role in paving the way for a greener environment.
The potential for thrift shops and high-end clothing stores to co-exist is substantial. And even though consumers clearly understand the role of textile industry in harming the environment, more needs to be done.
At Whitehouse & Schapiro, we help the thrift industry grow by providing sanitary and quality clothing items along with shoes, belts, purses and even toys. The goal is to support the green initiatives while also improving the access marginalized communities have to affordable products.