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The old idea of thrift stores as places with racks of old and tattered clothing is outdated and changing. Climate concerns are driving a boom in a newly energized resale industry, forecast to quadruple in size very soon.
The fashion industry has been criticized for its impact on the environment. Much of fast fashion piles up in landfills, and some have estimated its carbon footprint as larger than that of the shipping and airline industries combined.
Buying used clothing helps alleviate these problems, and it appears consumer attitudes are starting to change.
Some fast fashion chains are closing stores due to flagging sales. Retail consultant Bruce Winder said fast fashion's target market — young, style-conscious shoppers on a budget — are also those most concerned about the health of the planet.
"All the fast fashions these days are just polluting our Earth, so it's nice to be able to reuse other things that people don't want," said one young customer browsing through the coat department recently at a Value Village thrift store.
Zero-waste consultant Sophi Robertson says her closet has only one piece of clothing that was bought new — everything else is second-hand.
For some who grew up associating second-hand clothing with being “poor”, there's a stigma around second-hand items. But that's changing quickly.
Some give the credit to our children – they are learning about environmental issues at school and are taking environmental responsibility seriously.
Let’s join them, shall we?