What can we do at the individual level to satisfy our consumer needs and cravings for fashion items without compromising planetary boundaries? To buy less and wisely – easy first tip! Changing the habit and not buying hasn’t worked for me, even at the time of the pandemic. The easiest solution to declutter is to resell the fashion item through applications focusing on reselling reused goods. Currently, they are having enormous success! For the last year, I haven’t spent almost any money on new garments. That means less pressure on a planet. And this should be our aim if we want to stay within the planetary boundaries! 

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Where the textiles end up?

The average European consumes 26 kg of textiles per year, while in Baltics it`s around 7kg per capita. The amount of clothing an average person buys in Europe has increased by 40% in just a few decades. It has happened because of the low prices and decreased durability of the items, also the way the fashion industry has told us to consume. Simultaneously, only 50% of collected textiles are reused by exporting to other countries. In fact, the Baltic countries are becoming textile dumps where Scandinavian, and other Western European countries are bringing their textile “waste”. Second-hand textiles make up a significant share of total consumption of textiles in our households 29% in Latvia and Lithuania and 16% in Estonia.

Ever wondered what happens with the textiles hanging in local second hands stores for ages when nobody buys them? Landfills, incineration plants… Yes, my dear, in such a way, Europe is getting rid of unnecessary clothing! We need to stop making new clothes then and advocate towards conscious resale. 

Photo by Bas Emmen on Unsplash

What can we do at the individual level to satisfy our needs? 

I was trying not to shop for new clothing, but it is very tempting to buy a new season garment, especially when spring arrives and the soul is craving something new. Despite the principle of buying less and better quality, it was still difficult to resist the temptations. Even after asking myself numerous times, “Do I really need it”? Nevertheless, there are few magic questions that one should ask itself before purchasing a new product. Is there already something similar in my wardrobe? What am I going to wear it with? Is this going to go with my existing clothing? Won’t it end up as an item on a hanger? 

The struggle lasted until I discovered the secondhand resell applications. 

Secondhand because of sustainability?

Liva Jaunozola the founder of Latvian secondhand application AndeleMandel is convinced that using these apps makes us act as hunters, looking for a new clothing piece. That also promotes the willingness to sell and resell. Somehow she was not mentioning the sustainability aspect. How many people shop in secondhand apps due to sustainability reasons? We should realize that this is done because of helping the planet. Let’s do that instead of supporting the multinationals that are making us spend on new, often sinful clothing with a huge environmental footprint. (By the way: global water footprint related to cotton consumption is 2.6% of the global water footprint).

Many Lithuanian and Latvian sellers have a dedicated account manager in the Depop app who uses different tricks to boost sales. E.g., nice wrapping, adding a bag of candy as a gift and being kind when selling and communicating. I rarely receive a nicely wrapped secondhand item when shopping here in Riga. It’s usually in a red shopping bag of a local retailer or even a black garbage bag. Therefore, I want to encourage you to go the same path as those traditional sellers. 

Tips on how to sell your clothing on the Depop app

According to sustainable fashion advocate Faustinova, here are some tips:

  1. Pictures on the body are the key! Use the original from the site you bought the item, or express yourself and become a model! They shouldn’t be professional, rather informal, creative, and even eccentric!
  2. Use your creativity and make fun descriptions: use slang, invite to dress for Christmas or St. Patrick’s day. 
  3. Don’t forget about honesty – show all the shortcomings or defects. If it was never worn or only a few times – tell that!
  4. Use brands #hashtags. Or add something like: “Similar to #COS, #otherstories.”
  5. If you want to increase your visibility, upload a new peace every day. Never all together in a single day!
  6. Include shipping costs, plus the margin for a bargain. Discuss the price in a private chat!
  7. Bundle the deals. 3 for 2, in such a way you can get rid of the clothing that isn’t attracting the attention. When closing a deal, ask the client if there is an interest in an additional item from your store. Be kind. Offer free shipping!
  8. If someone likes your items, try to contact and have a chat, it might happen that you will make a deal! 
  9. When you sell the item, show it and don’t delete it from your profile. It will increase your trustworthiness. 
  10. Kind and easygoing communication, esthetical and neat photos are crucial to your success.

List of secondhand apps you should try:

  1. Vinted (Kleiderkreisel)
  2. Vestiaire Collective
  3. Andele Mandel
  4. Grailed (for men)
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