Secondhand clothes: A shift in shopping habits that’s changing the fashion industry

Posted at 6:51 AM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 17:09:19-05

CLEVELAND — People are becoming more aware of problems with fast fashion, or inexpensive clothing that is rapidly produced. Apparel and footwear production account for 8% of global greenhouse gas emission.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American throws away 81 lbs. of clothes per year.

But there’s a new trend in the fashion world that doesn’t seem to be going out of style: repurposing, reselling, re-wearing.

Second hand fashion is driven by Generation Z and Millennials. Millennials like Sarah Sapola from Lakewood.

“I think a lot of people associate being fashionable and trendy with expensive name brand things and that’s just not the case anymore,” she said. “70 to 80% of all my clothes are either thrifted, second hand, things like that.”

What’s old can always be made new again, and that rings true at Avalon Exchange in Cleveland.

“We are a resale shop. We buy from the public 7 days a week, that’s how we get all of the stock we have,” said Krystin Coleman, the manager of the store.

Clothes, shoes, bags, all things others didn’t want anymore.

The store sells about 30% of its items on its Instagram page. There you’ll find a Michael Kors jacket for $40, a pair of Converse for $26, a BCBG dress that was originally 300$ selling for just $34.

“There’s nothing like the feeling of finding something that could actually be something that is your new favorite piece, and knowing that you only paid $10 for it,” said Misty Hughes, a customer.

Coleman said it’s all about the money- the deals and the payouts.

“There’s been this big shift in people realizing there’s a market for them to make money off of their items and it’s not just ‘Oh, let’s go drop them off somewhere.”

Websites like Rent the Runway, Poshmark, ThredUp, and even Facebook Marketplace are helping drive the industry and putting a pin in the fast fashion balloon.

By 2023, sales of secondhand goods will reach $51 billion dollars.

“We are definitely seeing a shift in the way people think about fast fashion and clothing,” said Coleman.

In 10 years, secondhand is projected to be even larger than the fast fashion industry.
“From disposing your garments, to washing your garments, to buying them, there’s little, tiny changes that we can make to help fix the problem,” said Sapola.