More often than not, when opening their wardrobes people will complain about their lack of clothes and just go out to buy more. Fast fashion stores are probably where they are going to satisfy their craving for new pieces: it is possible to find the latest fad for very convenient prices. What is the problem then? Well, that of fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries, since it is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emission, not to mention the amount of water that it consumes; it takes 8.000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans alone and 2.700 litres for just one t-shirt. It must also be considered that trends are in constant evolution and the quality of these clothes is really poor, which explains why people feel the need to replace them every season.
Luckily there are alternatives. The ideal solution to the problem would be to buy from sustainable brands, investing in more durable pieces. Although, many would argue that it is something impracticable due to its high costs, and they would be right. Something far more accessible is second-hand shopping. It is a good alternative for those who are on a tight budget, for people who are more conscious about the environment and for those looking for unique wardrobes. Vintage fashion should not be identified, as still many do, with old and ruined clothes. Undoubtedly, there is still a lot of that, but it actually gives the opportunity to find hidden gems, one-of-a-kind items that have simply been “pre-loved”.
According to GlobalData and Thredup, the market of traditional thrift, donations and resale is going to overtake the one of fast fashion in the near future, being almost double the size of it in 2029, when it is expected to reach the value of 80 billion U.S. dollars.
Looking at this data, then, it is clear that change is coming and the future of fashion is vintage. Having said that, it must be taken into consideration that demand for clothes coming from brands like Zara and H&M is going to diminish and thus the supply as well.
Something worth to point out is that in times of economic uncertainty, such as the one we are now in, the shift to vintage has been accelerated. Apps like Depop have turned out to be extremely useful not only for buying, but also for reselling and making money out of stuff that was sitting in the wardrobe unused. It is in fact possible to thrift online as well, on websites such as The Real Real and Etsy; it might not give the same sense of ‘hunting for hidden treasures’ as it does in physical stores, but it is still worth giving a try, because in the end, what really matters is finding your own personal style.