Wearing second-hand clothing can be a step towards sustainability

By: Momo Bhattacharjee

Who does not like an addition to the wardrobe once in a while? A new dress, a new t-shirt, a new scarf does add a glimmer to our boring old collection of clothes. In this era of everything arriving at our doorstep with a click of a button, shopping for clothing has become easier than ever. From national or international brands, ethnic to casual wear all we need to do is select and pay. 

second-hand clothing
Image source: piqsels

But have we ever sat down to marvel upon the starting point of cloth manufacturing, right from the single thread that entwines to form a beautiful fabric? Let us take cotton. Cotton is the most common natural fiber used to make clothing, accounting for about 33 percent of all fibers found in textiles. The plantation of cotton has severe effects on the environment.

It causes degradation of soil depleting its quality and fertility. The use of a substantial amount of pesticides and fertilizers threatens the adjoining water bodies. In the world of agro-based agriculture, cotton requires the maximum amount of water and as well as leads to groundwater depletion.

But where lies the solution? We cannot break the ancient culture of gifting clothing to oneself and peers during our festive seasons, it is not just a practice it is a form of love. The movement of slow fashion and eco-friendly clothing is slowly gaining popularity but we also need to accept that it often goes beyond the budget for many.

How about we get into the habit of thrifting? Thrifting is nothing but second-hand clothing. It sounds scary for obvious reasons but if little details are kept in mind, apart from environmental sustainability you can really have a vintage, unique collection at cheap prices. 

Every year millions of hardly-worn clothes end up in the landfill. With the fast pace of the fashion industry we do not tend to preserve clothes, rather buy new ones with the trend. Thrifting will allow you to keep all those hardly worn apparel off the landfill and into your closet.

A single pair of jeans uses gallons of water and produces greenhouse gases. Imagine all your upcoming jeans being top of the trend but zero in carbon footprints. Your money will be saved and spent towards a booming industry that saves and not drains the resources. In fact, many thrifting shops are run by charitable organizations so, while you save a little of nature, you will also be helping these hard-working organizations that serve the community. 

Getting back to the tips of starting the path to thrifting. It begins by locating the thrift stores for which the vast repository of the Internet will assist you. Once you enter the world of second-hand markets, keep in mind that you purchase “only” what you need and do not go overboard. Minimalism is the end goal.

Do check out for the rips and tears and avoid them in your basket. I have often found super classy wears for less than INR 200 lasting for over three years now. Try not to bargain with the people for they travel miles to get you those amazing wears and the price set is mostly at the lowest base. These clothes are always washed and disinfected before being brought to the station.

Once you are home do not forget to rewash the clothes for your satisfaction before flaunting them against the mirror. This way your spree of buying clothes will not only be beneficial for the planet but also for your wallet. 

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Momo Bhattacharjee

Momo Bhattacharjee

I am from India and by profession, I am a scholar of Sociology and Development studies with a keen interest in Writing. I am the co-founder of a trust, named GreenAmmo, that works towards sustainable waste management systems all over the Himalayas and the coasts.

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