Last week I attended a screening of The True Cost as part of Fashion Revolution week, and although I had already seen the film before, this time it really moved me deeply (most likely due to the fact that the first time I watched it was on Netflix & I was probably half paying attention, half scrolling Instagram/texting animal GIFs/googling miscellaneous symptoms).
One section of the film looks at the issues that dumping second hand clothing on charity stores causes. Although it may seem like the altruistic thing to do, many people just use donating as a "guilt free" means of ridding themselves of the over abundance of fast fashion they have accumulated. But where does it end up if it can't be sold by the op shop? It gets shipped to developing countries, thats where. Which then in turn destroys their local garment industry, with the exception of their super cheap, super fast items for export. What this means is that local manufacturers can no longer learn the craft of garment making and use this skill to earn a living.
See, the onset of fast fashion has meant that second hand items, which used to be the appealing cheap option (back in "my day" i.e. 2005 we used to sport long 80's skirts as strapless dresses, cinched in at the waist with an ill fitting belt that was either so tight breathing was a struggle or so loose it would fall down pulling your chicken filleted strapless bra with it) are now seen as the dorky aunty to fast fashions cool cousin.
Why would you spend $20 at Vinnies when you could buy two items for that price from Asos? Well for starters, your $10 a pop asos surprise is probably poorly made and unflattering, and secondly it is potentially so chemical laden in order to stay "fresh" whilst shipping in all its plastic wrapping, that you will be absorbing more poisons than if you bathed in Powerade.
So I urge you, head to your local oppie, give it a go... Try some stuff on. You never know what you will find, and the little buzz you get from knowing that what you have purchased has no negative impact on the world. Literally no resources went into making something that is already made. AND you are saving that item from being sent to landfill or to a country who simply doesn't need the burden. Plus it means thats one less item you've bought from big, greedy businesses!
There is really good stuff out there, just check out this editorial by Intent Journal. All pieces used are from op shops, garage sales or online selling communities. You can also find stuff at vintage stores, or the AMAZING new shop Recycle Boutique on Sydney Road (I LOVE this shop!). OR arrange a clothes swap with your mates and finally wear that cropped leather jacket your best mate has been looking super slick in for years.
SHOP SECOND HAND. ITS REALLY, REALLY GOOD.