I have written previously about my support for new companies who are at the cutting edge of fashion technology. I believe if I am to buy any new products, then I should be buying only the best that embody the values of innovation, science, quality, and sustainability.
But I cannot spend all of my money on brand new innovative products. I would go bankrupt. And it is unrealistic to assume that everyone can do it too. I think most people want to be a part of the most popular brands. I seek to embody sustainability and the minimal production of consumer waste through all of my purchases. Both the goals of the average consumer and myself can be accomplished through supporting the resale fashion industry.
Because of the criticism of Fast Fashion industry, many individuals are turning to more ethical ways of creating style. As I’ve written before, the resale fashion industry is divided into different tiers that cater to a different customer’s needs. I personally do not support Forever 21 or similar fast fashion companies even to buy a product secondhand, but I know many still appreciate their products and the cost is obviously cheaper. In the resale world, the cost would be even more so.
Since the resale fashion world is still developing, I find that there are organizations or companies that do not know how to price their items. The price for J Brand jeans I’ve found have ranged from $15 to $49.99 at the resale price, whereas in the brand new store they go for about $200. By that price, $50 is extremely reasonable. And the $15 or $20 is even more so. I am almost getting designer brand jeans for free, practically. Cheaper than your new Gap jeans! What do you want to wear, J Brand, Adriano Goldschmied (which I have also found for a mere $25), or the mall brand Gap? Obviously, as a consumer, I take advantage of it. And if I were more wealthy I would support these brands as new products if I agreed with their sustainability patterns. I do not like stealing designer work, and that is why I hate Forever 21.
But not to get into a sidetracked hate rant. The point I’d like to outline is that there exists resale fashion clothing stores for almost every type of female consumer. The most popular secondhand store is Goodwill. Sometimes you can find some good stuff there. As you climb up, there are other stores, like the local Avalon Exchange that resides in the loop that caters to more trendy, fast fashion brands including Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21. Like I said, I do not shop there, but I promote them because I believe it is an ethical alternative to buying new fast fashion products that strip oxygen out the air through unsustainable factories, the energy of the third world workers, and the integrity of the American consumer.
Further up, there are organizations like The Scholar Shop, which is a nonprofit that supports luxury resale and sell higher end mall brands like Ann Taylor, Chico, Nike, as well as some luxury designers and products like Lord & Taylor. Unfortunately, this shop is closing within the next year. Fortunately, their products are cheap as hell because they are trying to get rid of everything. They have everything from belts, accessories, shoes, evening wear, jeans, work attire, skirts, pants, athletic wear–seriously everything. Go get it.
The final tiers are the true high end luxury brands. These local resale shops are located in of course the luxurious parts of town like Ladue and Clayton, if you are in St. Louis. Two of my favorite that I go to are Byrd Consignment and The Vault Luxury Resale. This is where you will find your Dior, your theory products, your DKNY, your BCBG, your Lululemon. Obviously, these stores know their brands and they keep the best products, which logically means they will be higher priced. Higher priced compared to the rest of the resale industry, of course, but I find that the prices for these brand names are extremely competitive if not on the same par with the same products you find at your mall brand companies like New York and Company (also another brand I hate). A beautiful, feminine sweater will cost around $50 or less, which is very similar to higher end mall brands. These sweaters I find at the resale shop are also actually made of 100% wool, while your H&M sweaters may be $30 but use fake wool or wool mock textiles. It is not as warm, and it doesn’t last as long.
Maintaining support for brands that truly uphold quality design genius and ethics are the brands to support. When I make more money, I will for sure show support to real designers that I admire, but continue to support the resale industry. The goal is sustainable lifestyle, and that includes product design.