Did you know that the average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing a year?
Yesterday I wrote about fast fashion’s adverse impact on the environment. Aside from products being shipped around the globe from countries where labor and manufacturing are inexpensive, the rate in which people discard inexpensive, trendy pieces can have huge environmental ramifications. In fact, an entire “green fashion” movement as been created to counteract trend-driven, “discard” fashion. Earlier this year, I attended Value Village’s “Runway Reimagined” in which designers were challenged to redesign and style donated clothing. Designers such a Stella McCartney and even retailers like H&M’s Conscious Collection focus on using reusable or recylced materials. Eileen Fischer has even opened retail stores called Green Eileen, where you can sell or purchase gently used articles of her clothing.
I’m the first to admit that I love to follow trends. However, keeping my wardrobe current and organized requires me to recycle items I’m no longer wearing. Because many of the pieces I’m recylcing are in good condition (and because I need income to feed my shopping habit), I’m a big believer in consignment.
If you are local to Seattle, I highly recommend Take 2 Consignment in Capital Hill. Take 2 accepts most labels, apparel must be in good condition, and items should be current within the last 2-3 seasons. For designer items, I would recommend Sell Your Sole in Belltown. Sell Your Sole is reserved for your higher-end, designer items (ranging from Vince to Chanel), in very good condition. Both stores are your typical consignment model, where your items are placed on the sales floor for a length of time and when they sell you receive a portion of the proceeds.
For selling (or buying) online, I use Poshmark; an easy to use app that allows you to manage the sales process and, as a reward, net more of the sale proceeds. However, this takes a bit more leg work than simply leaving clothes at a consigment store as you need to post the ad (with descriptions and pictures) and patiently wait for potential buyers. Once you have a sale, it’s as easy as printing off a prepaid shipping label and packaging your item.
If you prefer to donate clothes rather than consign, I recommend Dress For Success, a non-profit organization that empowers women living in poverty by providing them with professional attire in an effort to secure employment. I also support the ethos of Value Village who resells and recycles used clothing, keeping more than 650 million pounds of used goods from the landfill each year. As a note, any unsold items at Value Village are either recycled (to make new products) or sent to developing countries.
I also love shopping at consignment stores. In particular, I use consignment stores and online services when considering designer pieces that I ordinarily wouldn’t pay full price for. Especially with high-end, designer consigment, retailers are very careful to maintain quality standards and verify authenticity. For example, both the Isabel Marant cardigan and the Chloé boots pictured above were consignment store finds from Sell Your Sole.
In addition to shopping on Poshmark, I have also discovered Vestiaire Collective; an online marketplace for pre-owned luxury and designer fashion. I’ve been eying the Isabel Marant ‘Dicker’ booties (pictured below) for some time, and the site keeps me updated when my size becomes available. Both Poshmark and Vestiaire allow you to negotiate price with sellers and, Vestiaire has rigorous quality control measures to assure authenticity prior to the item being shipped to the buyer.
A few rules to keep in mind when buying consignment:
- Do your research (know the item’s sizing, and what it retails for)
- Buy from a trusted retailer
- Consider shipping costs and any import taxes
Have additional questions about consignment? Any tips or tricks you may have that I didn’t note? Please leave a comment! As always, thanks for reading. ~Jenn