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Sustainable Fashion: A Resurgence in Shopping Secondhand

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

Secondhand shopping is not a new phenomenon, but its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. An eco-conscious wave of shoppers, particularly within the younger generations, drives this spike in sales. From encouraging unique personal style to presenting a more sustainable mode of consumerism, thrifting serves as an outlet for individuality while minimizing the toll of the fashion industry on our planet. 

According to a 2021 report from online retailer, thredUP, the global secondhand market is expected to nearly double by 2027, and at its current trajectory is growing eleven times faster than traditional forms of retail. A recent survey also suggests that American teens are opting to shop at thrift shores and online clothing resale marketplaces, such as Depop and Poshmark more than they have in the past. So, what is motivating teens to embrace the secondhand market? 

Teens rank social issues related to the climate crisis high in terms of urgency, and the fashion industry alone produces more than 10% of our annual global carbon footprint. In addition, fast fashion and unsustainable consumer practices are often amplified by social media, as a constant succession of microtrends, ‘essential’ new products, and ‘in’ and ‘out’ pieces are fed to users. Appealing to environmental values, thrifting and online resale halt these processes and promote conscious consumption through circular waste cycles.  

Ultimately, whether you find the allure of secondhand shopping in advancing your individual style, cheaper prices, or sustainability, thrifting is an environmentally conscious way to diversify your closet while limiting your impact on the environment.  

Lucy Moreira

McMaster '27

Lucy Moreira is a first year Arts and Science student and a part-time writer at the Her Campus at McMaster chapter. Beyond Her Campus, Lucy has written articles for a non-profit about a range of social issues, and she is excited to share her passion for writing with her peers. In her free time, Lucy enjoys reading and baking, and listening to music!