SHOP SECONDHAND

WORDS: KATE WEINER

IMAGE: RICK HONG MANAYAN

In collaboration with Natalie Kay of Sustainably Chic, Loam is launching a "Stop Fast Fashion" campaign to encourage a new kind of conscious consumerism. Over the course of the month, we'll provide you with tangible tools and inspiration for cultivating a conscious closet.

Most of us consider the carbon footprint of our food when we shop but what about our clothes? The fashion industry is the second largest consumer and polluter of our incredibly precious water resources in the world. Our choices have impact and with mindfulness, research, and responsibility, consumerism (especially lack thereof!) can be environmental activism. 

Shopping secondhand is an easy to work with what we already have to stymie textile waste, cultivate a conscious closet, and contribute to a circular economy. Secondhand stores are a respite from soulless malls; it's satisfying to not only score a pair of vintage Levis, but also to know that doing so doesn't accelerate climate change. Malls might be shiny,  but the trove of cheaply made stuff (however beautifully it's presented) obscures the painful reality that most fashion is built on a bedrock of environmental destruction and the abuse of workers' rights. Dressing well shouldn't come at the cost of our earth and the many people who live within it. 

I buy almost everything—dresses, scarves, shoes, coats—secondhand. The experience of swiping through the racks at a funky thrift store is fun for me and I love knowing that I'm making creative use of clothes that are already in circulation. And as a twenty-something on a budget, buying pre-loved clothes saves me a ton of money! 

If you're new to shopping secondhand, check out The True Cost. This powerful documentary will reinvigorate your commitment to the consignment rack. And if you're a seasoned pro at scouring secondhand shops, make it your mission to up the stakes. I now buy secondhand 80% of the time. Keeping this number in mind means I not only buy less, but when I do, I buy better. That's important if we want to challenge the mindless consumption that drives climate change and environmental exploitation. 

Here are a few of our favorite resources for shopping secondhand:

CROSSROADS

This nationwide chain is a mecca for reasonably-priced and trend-conscious clothes. 

THREDUP

Want to make a little money and do a little good? This online consignment store makes it simple to both buy and sell secondhand clothes. 

MODERNATION

Moderation's beautifully curated online shop is an antidote to overstuffed thrift store shops. It also has links to select sustainably made products.