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The Rise of Second-Hand Clothing Purchases


In 2019, the US retail industry witnessed something most people thought wasn’t possible; second-hand clothing sales amounted to a record-breaking $28 billion!


Considering fast fashion sales stood at $35 billion, in the coming years, the second-hand clothing industry may catch up to and even surpass fast fashion. If consumers stick to making wiser fashion choices, we may be able to stop the ongoing damage that fast fashion continues to cause to the planet.


Fast fashion is as harmful to the earth as fast food is to our bodies. It’s something we need to put the brakes on but have been struggling to do so—mainly because of the consumerist culture the fast fashion industry has pushed on us.


Consumerism and Fast Fashion

Fast fashion refers to the fashion industry’s model of mass-producing goods and selling them at affordable prices. Giants like Zara, H&M, Gap, and even Adidas are churning out more products than ever before to cater to global demand.


Due to the hypercompetitive nature of the industry, fast fashion brands need to be able to introduce new items every few weeks.


The result? A use-and-dispose consumer culture that is slowly eating away at the environment.


Second-Biggest Polluter In the World

Until a few years ago, the average consumer couldn’t guess that behind the fashion industry’s glamorous fashion shows and magazine shoots lay a dirty little secret. The illustrious fashion industry is the second-biggest threat to the environment after the oil industry.


Most people don’t think of their clothes as a direct threat to the environment, but fast fashion has made them just that. From manufacturing to distribution and disposal, the industry endangers the environment at every step.


Second-Hand Clothing—The Eco-Friendly Alternative

The second-hand clothing industry is a byproduct of fast fashion’s consumerist culture. If consumers continue to support second-hand clothing outlets the way they are, thrift shops and consignment stores may slow down fast fashion sales.


As second-hand clothing traders, we encourage all consumers to be conscious of the harm that the fast fashion industry is causing the environment when they go shopping. Just by choosing not to purchase a cotton t-shirt, you save 2,700 liters of water, according to the WWF.


Think of how much good you can do by shopping more responsibly.


Whitehouse & Schapiro buys and sells thrift store excess and credential clothing from charities. We sell used clothes and used shoes donations to Pakistan, Chile, Eastern Europe, Japan, and parts of Africa to support local communities who don’t have access to new clothes.


Our efforts help 2.5 million tons of clothing from being thrown into landfills.


If you’re in Baltimore, contact us to find out how you can support our cause!


Note: Whitehouse & Schapiro collects excess inventory from thrift locations and credential clothing via Clean Out Your Closets for a Cause™ (COYC™). COYC™ is a successful credential collection program that enables non-profit organizations to engage churches, businesses, schools, municipalities, donors, and volunteers in their fundraising efforts.


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