Not a day goes by where we aren’t reminded of the damage we are causing to our planet with the words eco-friendly and sustainability all around us. We are the first generation to understand the devastating impact our decisions and lifestyles are having on Earth, the planet we call home. As much as this is shocking and depressing, it should also inspire us to make changes and accept responsibility for our actions.
The world of consumerism is changing
In some ways I really feel like the world is heading to a better place. There has been a huge rise in veganism over the past two years with many changing their diets for environmental reasons. Renewable energy sources are becoming the energy of choice too. There are numerous recycling schemes nowadays with local councils collecting recyclable materials and even food waste from our doorsteps. There’s a focus on minimalism and less so on consumerism which should stop the mass producing of unnecessary goods such as throwaway plastics. We’re becoming more aware of our everyday choices and I believe we are making better decisions.
One area of our modern lifestyles that we are just starting to take notice of is the consequences of fast fashion and accessories. Constantly updating our wardrobes with the latest looks and throwing away perfectly useable clothing causes hundreds of thousands of clothing items to go to landfill every year (300,000 tonnes in 2016). Not only is this terrible, but textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water after agriculture. Our constant demand for the latest trends at affordable prices is polluting our environment on an enormous scale. We really need to stop our love of fast fashion and become obsessed with sustainable fashion choices instead.
Shifting the future of fashion
Repair, reuse, reduce.
We need to stop our love of fast fashion and throwaway trends and move to a more sustainable fashion future. We need to learn to love our clothes and buy pieces that we will not get bored with in a few weeks. We need to start buying better quality clothing and accessories that are built to last and stand the test of time.
The problem with many cheap fast fashion items is that they are made from poor quality materials that aren’t built to last. Instead, we need to move back to perhaps paying more expensive prices for quality luxury items that will last a lifetime, or can at least be repaired if they do break.
Of course we can’t all afford to buy ourselves a brand new Rolex watch whenever we need a timepiece, which is why to be even more sustainable we should always look into buying second-hand watches and clothing items as our first choice.
Learning to love preloved
Buying quality clothing and accessories for their longevity is one step closer to a more sustainable world, but an even bigger step is to stop the ongoing production of new items when there are so many perfectly good unwanted pre-loved items available to us. We need to stop our desire for only wanting new things and change our opinion on second hand goods.
There has definitely been a rise in the trend of thrift stores, upcycling and vintage goods in the last few years and I hope it’s not just a passing trend, but something that is here to stay and continue.
Here are a few reasons why it’s time to start buying only second-hand luxury items:
· They’ll last longer
Firstly if we start shopping for quality items that are made from high-grade materials then they will last longer. Seeking items that are made with craftsmanship instead of mass produced goods that are churned out of factories for pence will ensure the items are fixable and won’t fall apart in a few weeks. This is true for clothing, accessories and pretty much everything we buy in the household.
· You’ll find something unique
The best thing about preloved stores is you’ll never know what you’ll find. And, when you do find something you love it will probably be the only one. It’s not like buying the latest fashionable jacket from a cheap clothing store and then all your friends buying the same. Finding items in second-hand stores means that you’ll likely find something that none of your friends have or will be able to find. You’ll be unique.
· It’s more affordable
You might never have been able to afford high-quality or luxury goods like Rolex watches when they were new, but buying second-hand means your budget will go further and you can get luxury goods for less. Those items you never thought you could afford are now at a much more appealing price. Even if you can afford to buy luxury goods brand new, there are plenty of reasons discussed here for why you shouldn’t. Everyone, no matter what their budget, should choose second-hand as the first option for the love of the planet.
· You can support a good cause
Many second-hand stores are charity shops so you’ll be supporting a good cause when you buy from them. Even if the second-hand stores you shop at are not affiliated with a charity, you’ll still be supporting a company that is doing good for the environment by recycling and reusing goods instead of producing more new items constantly. Whether it’s a charity or not, choosing to buy preloved goods is always supporting a worthwhile cause.
· Save the planet
The best reason of all to choose second-hand watches and goods is to help save the planet. The constant over production of mass goods in factories around the world is causing pollution to our air, water and more. Poor quality synthetic fibres are adding to the plastic pollution problem and non-organic cotton farming is killing our wildlife and damaging soils due to chemical pesticides. Clothing production is even causing deforestation. It’s got to stop.
It's time to be smart about fashion. We need to learn to reduce, reuse and recycle more than ever and this can start with making second-hand shopping the norm.