This story is part of the Stuff Festival of Fashion, presented by Samsung. See more from the festival here.
OPINION: Every piece of clothing we will ever need has already been made. Let that percolate for a minute.
If we want to slow down fast fashion, we have to create less demand. One way to do that is to buy less new, and curate a fabulous second-hand wardrobe.
I would say that around 70 per cent of my wardrobe is second-hand. From Moschino earrings and vintage beaded jackets, to a fast fashion graphic tee with sequin sleeves that I spent $8 on and saved from landfill.
Personal style has nothing to do with how much money you spend and everything to do with wearing your personality.
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* Why Millennials are New Zealand’s top second-hand shoppers
* How to get the wardrobe you want on the budget you have
* What it’s like to wear six items of clothing for six weeks
The first thing I do when I enter a second-hand store is walk up and down the aisles slowly with my eyes peeled for anything interesting. A great colour, bold print, embellishment (like sequin or embroidery) or a style I might recognise from my favourite labels from previous seasons.
I’m very tactile, and when I come across a beautiful fabric I just have to try it on. I don’t limit myself to the racks that have my size – depending on cut I might fit anything from a 12 to a 22. I have found some serious gems in places I’d never expect.
Shopping second-hand is a great way to get designer clothes for a budget price. Paying $100 for a Trelise coat that retails for $1000 always feels a bit like winning Lotto!
Always check the condition of the garment – lay the seams flat and check if they have any pulls or holes around the stitching (this often happens on woven garments as they have no stretch). Hold it up to the light and check for any signs of fading or grease stains which are hard to see in dim lighting and even harder to get rid of.
Shopping online can be difficult at the best of times, so I like to use what I already own as a baseline. If you have brands that fit you really well or whose accessories you love, set up email alerts on TradeMe or eBay, so you can snap them up as soon as they are listed.
Have your measurements on hand, so you can cross-check them with online garments to make sure they’ll actually fit. Make sure you check the shipping price before you commit to the item, for some things it might be worth paying overseas shipping, but it can really up the price point.
There are some brilliant places around New Zealand to find second-hand clothing. I run a style group called ‘Own Your Style’ and every week my styling clients send me clothes they no longer need in sizes 14+ and I on sell them to the members of my group.
This brings me endless joy, not only have I found you the clothes of your dreams, but together we’re giving money back to the women in our community. There are multiple other buy and sell groups on Facebook – your dream outfit is probably sitting in someone else’s wardrobe!
Places to look online:
TradeMe, eBay, Designer Wardrobe, Depop, Hunter Markets, Facebook Marketplace.
Places to look instore:
Encore Designer Recycle (Auckland and Wairarapa), Tatty’s (Auckland), Hunters and Collectors (Wellington), I Love Labels (Raumati Beach), Hospice shops (nationwide), Everlasting (Auckland), The Recycle Boutique (nationwide).
Second-hand clothing Instagram accounts to follow:
Don’t forget you can also sell your clothes through consignment stores or online, so you have the budget to inject some fresh pieces into your wardrobe this season.
Shopping second-hand is fun! Being a treasure hunter – waiting to find that piece that really thrills you – will help you create a unique wardrobe with a story behind every garment. To me, it’s much more of a kick than picking an outfit right off the rack.
It’s better for your wallet, better for the planet and will help you develop a style that’s all your own.