Business - July 28, 2023

All the keys to switch to the way of shopping of the future

Society is increasingly concerned about the environment and there are sectors, such as fashion, where sensitivity is even greater. This is due to the fact that the textile sector is the second most polluting sector in the world, which has meant that in recent years society has become more aware and is looking for more sustainable alternatives such as renting or buying second-hand clothes.

According to a report by Consumer Trends 2022, the rise of second-hand clothing is an unstoppable reality. Its weight is increasing year after year and this study predicts that in 2030 the sales volume of second-hand clothes will be double that of the fast fashion chains which, to date, are still at the top of the ranking.

The influence of fast fashion has led to consumers compulsively buying more wholesale clothing than they really need. If we want to keep buying new clothes, to adapt our wardrobes to trends, we must get rid of many of these pieces. Trash is the worst destination, so lately, either for environmental reasons or to make some business, the online sale of used clothes has become very fashionable.

A commitment to sustainability
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on the planet, second only to the oil industry. The figures are alarming. To grow, process and dye one kilo of cotton requires more than 13,000 litres of water. What is the result of all this consumption? It would simply give life to five T-shirts.

Collecting used clothes to give them a second life.
According to the UN, the fashion sector accounts for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions. It is also responsible for generating almost 20% of wastewater. “Polyester fibre takes 200 years to decompose and cotton production accounts for 24% of the insecticides used in the world,” says Paloma G. Lopez, CEO and Founder of The Circular Circulator. López, Founding CEO of The Circular Project.

The worst thing is that all this blow against the planet is done unnecessarily. Of all the clothes we buy, 80% will end up in landfills after customers have thrown them away. Fortunately, “sustainability is here to stay,” says G. López .

62% of young people are more willing to spend on brands that are sustainable.

Second-hand fashion will double fast fashion by 2030. At least that is the conclusion of the Consumer Trends 2022 report by Samy Alliance, a full-service marketing and communications company. According to this report, Generation Z takes into account the ethical standards of brands before they buy. Specifically, 62% of young people say they are more willing to spend on brands that are sustainable.

The study also highlights that 43% of users prefer to invest in higher quality garments because this guarantees that the life span of the garment is longer than in pieces made with bad fabrics.

Young fashion
“Why buy something new when there is someone who has what you are looking for in their wardrobe,” reflects Candela Fornieles, a 21-year-old psychologist. This idea is a very common trend among the younger generation, known as generation Z. They opt for second-hand designs. They opt for second-hand designs for two main reasons: because they are cheap and they support the environment.

A young person shopping in a second-hand clothes shop.
One of the favourite formulas among young people when it comes to buying second-hand clothes is selling by weight. “It means that young people who are short on cash can update their wardrobe with six or eight items without going broke,” adds Fornieles.

A unique wardrobe
Buying second-hand clothes, beyond being a passing trend, is a proposal that manages to extend the life of the garments and, with it, practise sustainability and commit to the circular economy. “In addition to being able to have unique pieces in our wardrobe, sometimes much more durable than those we buy in fast fashion shops”, says María Muñoz, model and fashion expert.

Second-hand clothes are much more economical and attractive to young people. “More and more people are joining this movement,” says Muñoz. In these first steps in buying second-hand designs, the favourite items are usually accessories. Within this universe of accessories, sales tend to concentrate on handbags and sunglasses.

Man selecting second-hand clothes.
One of the advantages of buying second-hand clothes is that we acquire more unique pieces than those we can find in the usual shops and which have been manufactured wholesale. “I think it’s a way to differentiate ourselves from the rest, it’s a more personal style,” adds the model. Then there is the satisfaction of the purchase. Looking for used pieces can become an experience in which you end up finding “little treasures from other eras that are unique”.

For these reasons, for years María Muñoz has preferred to choose her wardrobe in second-hand shops. For her, the key is “not to dress completely the same as in the shop catalogues, but also to be sensitive to the environment”.

Where to find second-hand clothes
One of the favourite places to find second-hand bargains are the platforms. Among the most famous are Vinted, which last year reached 800 million registered users worldwide. There are also Spanish companies dedicated to this sector, such as Micolet, which has already extended its borders to other neighbouring countries such as Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Poland and sells more than 150,000 garments a month.

Second-hand clothes shop.
“Buying second-hand clothes has become the first option for one in five members of our community,” Vinted says on its website. This new business concept means that 33% of the transactions that take place on the platform avoid the purchase of new items.

But the purchase of second-hand clothes is not only found in the digital world. In our country, Humana is the most famous company, as well as being a pioneer since its history dates back to 1987. Its function is to protect the environment through the reuse of clothing and other textile products. “Every year, more than two million donors drop off their used clothing in our bins and more than one million people shop at our second-hand shops,” the company says.

Tips for making the perfect purchase
In order to get it right and not regret your new purchases, here are some key tips to keep in mind when selecting second-hand clothes.

Woman shopping on her tablet
Invest time (and patience): Whether it’s an app or a shop, there’s usually a lot of clothing. To find treasures, you’ll have to look hard.
Check the garment well: although they have very strict protocols, examine details such as if all the buttons are there, if the zip is working properly or if there are any stains or tears.
Wash the clothes: even if the garment is clean, many people will have touched it or tried it on before you. To disinfect, nothing better than washing in hot water and using a dry cycle.
Try it on: you have to take into account that old garments may have a different size than the current one.
Negotiate the price: you don’t lose anything by trying and the sellers are already counting on you to haggle. Look at how long the garment has been on sale. The longer it has been on sale, the more open the seller will be to a discount.
Set up searches: To find what you really want on apps, it’s best to do preset searches using your favourite sizes or brands. This data also helps the algorithm to offer you clothes that suit you.
Tag sellers: identify sellers you’ve had successful purchases with and bookmark them so you can find out what’s new with them right away. If they have your size and similar taste, the success rate is much higher. Also bookmark products to see if they are on sale or on sale.
Join the second-hand trend, either as a buyer or a seller. Both the planet and your wallet will thank you.