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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Why you should resell clothes that don’t fit properly on apps like Vinted or Depop, instead of returning them to the distributor.

Clothes sizing is a problem amongst online retailers; with brands using different measurements for sizes meaning the same person could be two or even three sizes different from brand to brand. Combine this with the exponential growth of the online shopping market which doesn’t allow for trying them on prior to purchase and it’s easy to see how an estimated 70% of returns are a result of clothes not fitting the customer properly. This doesn’t seem like a major problem from a consumer’s point of view; clothes returns are easier than ever nowadays with free, no-questions-asked returns becoming the expected. But the reality is darker.

From a business perspective returns are a nightmare and often lead to a loss. Therefore, what many businesses (in particular fast fashion) don’t want you to know is that a substantial number of unworn, undamaged products that could easily be resold, end up in landfill. This is because the logistics of sorting damaged from undamaged items is often difficult, so it is more profitable to ship the clothes into landfill. The environmental repercussions of these practices are obviously awful, made possible by unsustainable business models intent on producing more clothes than they can handle, and are just another example of how damaging the fast fashion industry is to our planet.

Luckily for us, a generation with easy access and knowledge of the internet, selling online is simple. A multitude of companies have reworked Ebay’s successful initiative to make selling to strangers easy, quick, and environmentally leagues better than returning directly to the shop you bought it from. The annoying thing here is how cost-effective it is; there is no guarantee you will make the full amount of money back in the same way you can often guarantee a full refund from the original seller. However, with the increased popularity of these sites, you won’t be selling for nothing either. In fact, sometimes if a product is completely sold out on the original website, you might be able to make a profit on Depop to those desperate to get their hands on it, though the ethical implications of this are yours to consider. The point remains that the days of selling things on Ebay for pennies are long behind us.

I’ve stopped buying multiple sizes of clothes with the intention of returning the item that doesn’t fit, and instead started relying on customer reviews, photos and looking for exact measurements where I can. I try to avoid getting someone an item of clothing as a gift unless I know their size for sure. Taking the financial loss of having to resell is an annoying but necessary part of shopping online for me, as I can’t be sure where the product is going once it’s out of my hands. These are just a few ways I’ve tried to reduce the carbon footprint that comes with online shopping and might be some to consider if you shop often. Buying clothes from resale sites is also a viable way of cutting down and ensures the cycle of more sustainable shopping continues.

Further reading:

Your brand new returns end up in landfill | BBC Earth

What Happens to Clothes You Return? They Might Get Trashed – Ecocult

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Rachael Daly

Nottingham '23

Hi! I'm a third year English with Creative Writing student at the University of Nottingham :)