With shopping responsibly more important than ever, consumers are finally turning their attention to the fashion industry.
The fashion industry produces 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which, for reference, is more than the entire aviation sector worldwide. In other words, our clothing creates more carbon emissions than airplanes.
So when it comes to the three R’s — reuse, reduce, and recycle — reducing and reusing are more important than ever. Because even with new, sustainable brands popping up all over the place, nothing is more sustainable than reusing a clothing item that’s already been produced.
While many people know they can find vintage and upcycled items on places like eBay, ThredUp, and Etsy, there are more places than ever that allow independent brands to sell affordable and upscale items online.
Below are the 4 most underrated places to shop sustainably and give yourself a chance to reduce and reuse, rather than buying something brand new (no matter how “sustainable” the new clothing piece is).
1. Vestiaire Collective
First up is the Vestaire Collective, which perhaps has the widest range of items available. Where else can you buy vintage Gucci but also buy pre-owned Zara? The best part is that everything is sold by independent sellers, which means that you can support small businesses in the process.
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2. Wolf & Badger
Next up is Wolf & Badger, which is also a marketplace for small, independently owned brands. Prices vary drastically, but if you’re willing to search, you can find really affordable pieces. Plus, you can shop both vintage and upcycled items here, which means your clothes will truly be one-of-a-kind.
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3. Asos Marketplace
Ok, I know what your thinking here. Asos is one of the biggest fast fashion retailers — why would we want to support them? While, yes, the Marketplace is operated by Asos, it exclusively offers items sold by independent labels. Here, you can buy both vintage and upcycled items. Plus, they have sellers from all over the world, which means you can shop locally no matter where you live.
4. Urban Renewal
I hesitated to include Urban Renewal because it’s owned and operated by fast-fashion retailer Urban Outfitters. But I truly believe it’s one of the very few fast fashion brands doing sustainability right (as opposed to, say, H&M).
Instead of creating new items used from “sustainable” materials, they sell one-of-a-kind vintage and recycled items. In other words, nothing is mass-produced. Another plus is that everything is made in the United States. According to Glassdoor, folks on the manufacturing end of the brand are paid at least minimum wage, which is certainly more than we can say for the garment worker in Bangladesh, who makes about $86 a month.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.