I've always loved the process of buying. I'm actually energized by being presented with infinite options and zeroing in on the best one. I am (usually) laser-decisive. So, becoming an ethical fashion-pusher means that I get to flex this mental muscle less often. Consumption (sigh) is the enemy, which means I buy less and sell less. There are loop holes, thank God, and one of those is the science---nay, art!--- of thrifting.
I won't go into the statistics of the toll the fashion industry is taking on the planet. I've written about it in other blog posts and Huff Post has an entire library of fast fashion/slow fashion articles. (They are all worth reading.) Let me grossly reduce it to this fact: Fashion is killing the planet. There are too many clothes on planet earth. There are clothing companies, and I won't name names, who have actually been busted for burning their own excess product. Donating is not the solution either. Many countries in Africa are actually refusing to accept America's hand me downs in an effort to protect and support local industry. That being said, we can slow down fast fashion by buying second hand.
While I enjoy spotty success (at best) while thrifting, I still go with a plan. On my latest outing to Goodwill I had 3 key attributes I was looking for: labels, leather, and natural fibers. High end labels are indicative of higher quality and product longevity. Leather, of course, gets better with age and is always quick to sell, should I post it on my website. Finally, natural fibers wear well, have better wicking and insulating properties, and aren't made of garbage. (I'm looking at you polyester and acrylic.)
My guardian retail-angels were hovering last Sunday as I combed through the inventory-packed store and I came up with some pretty strong pieces-- a respectable mix of denim, cashmere, wool, and sneakers in perfect condition. Plus, in case you are not aware, Goodwill is a respected organization doing meaningful things for people who need a second chance. Thrifting experiences like this are not the norm, but just a tiny sweet taste of victory to keep me coming back for more.
Pictured: About half of the day's haul-- I bought 13 pieces for a total of $46.