The way we shop can have a negative impact on the planet. Fast fashion can lead to overconsumption and over-supply of clothes that may cause pollution in production and end up in landfill. With a national lockdown and highstreet shops closing, shoppers reevaluated their consumer habits, and the focus on fashion took a shift. We’re exploring what the alternatives to fast fashion are, and why they are good for the planet.
What are some Fast Fashion Alternatives?
- Buy Second Hand Clothes Online
- Shop In Charity Shops
- Rent Clothes
- Repair Your Current Clothes
- Host Clothes Swap Parties
When it comes to alternatives to fast fashion, online second hand marketplaces are the most convenient and usually the most popular choices. There are many available with sellers having a clear out, clothes makers selling their creations, as well as new pieces that have never been worn. Finding clothes made from eco-friendly materials or low impact sellers is possible too! With these online platforms the second hand market is booming. These are a few of the top online second hand marketplaces we think are great alternatives to buying fast fashion.
Buy Second Hand Clothes Online
Depop is the undisputed leader in online second hand clothes and accessories. For both sellers and buyers the platform seems to be getting things right. For use on the Depop App or online, Depop is home to over 21 million stylists, designers, artists, collectors, and more. Find friends, influencers, and independent sellers on the site and discover the joy of mobile commerce without the effect of fast fashion.
Similar to Depop, but with a more homemade angle, Etsy is home to independent sellers. In their clothes section, specify the type of clothing item and choose from handmade or vintage, and find something preloved or new from small, handmade sellers. Etsy also invests in projects to offset their carbon produced in delivery and packaging.
For more upmarket collectors, Rebelle is the go-to for designer and luxury products at preloved prices. Rebelle authenticate and quality check items sold to make sure dupes aren’t being sold for higher-end prices. For a more upscale version of second hand clothes, shop with Rebelle for brands like D&G, Burberry, Christian Dior, and more. For more luxury resale options, Vestiaire Collection specialises in designer dresses, jewellery, and accessories.
Ebay actually does have a marketplace for second hand clothes along with every other item you can imagine. You can shop by category and check buyer satisfaction on each item or seller. Each item has an in-depth item specification section with details like the condition, style, and garment care.
5. ASOS Marketplace
Hosted by online clothing giants, ASOS Marketplace is a place for smaller, independent designers to grow their brand and their audience. With new and vintage pieces from over 900 boutiques, it’s a great place to discover small, slow fashion designers and makers. The small scale of most of the boutiques means it attracts buyers looking for genuine, authentic new pieces, and with a guarantee to resolve unreceived orders, it’s a great alternative to shopping with big brands.
6. Thrift Plus
Founded in 2017, Thrift Plus (Thrift+) allows its sellers to pass on their unwanted clothes to give them a new life. You can choose from high street re-sells or designers, with quality checked clothing and with full refunds available for unhappy customers. Thrift+ have a Fashion For Good initiative which means each seller nominates a charity to receive a donation with each purchase. So far they’ve raised over £650,000 for good causes.
Online clothing reseller, Vinted boasts 40 million members shopping for second hand style. Browse items, ask sellers questions, and pay securely with the Vinted app. With a refund if your item isn’t sent, as well as an optional additional buyer-protection fee, you can shop second hand in peace. Choose from women’s wear, men’s wear, and kids for great deals on preloved clothing.
Aptly named, Preloved is an online marketplace for preloved, second hand items, including clothes. Started in 1998, it now has over 7 million members. They’re committed to promoting recycling and reusing, and have a Pet Pledge to help combat poor animal welfare. With a large selection of clothing and accessories you can shop second hand clothes at second hand prices.
Shop in Charity Shops
Charity shops are another popular choice when it comes to avoiding the fast fashion industry. While many charity shops are filled with fast fashion garments, these clothes are getting another chance at life rather than going straight to landfill.
Shopping at charity shops is a great way to donate to charity in hand with reusing and reducing waste from clothing. Often inundated with unwanted clothing, charity shops are the place to buy perfectly good clothes at lower prices.
You may have to stay patient and spend some time rummaging for individual pieces you like. Make friends with staff to help get used to the shop, and they may be able to help out and keep an eye out for pieces you might like. Visit on weekdays if you get the chance, and remember it’s okay to donate without finding anything you want to buy.
A lot of charity shops have online charity shops available, like Oxfam and Cancer Research. It's so easy to browse low-priced, second-hand clothes from the comfort of your own home. As well as avoiding buying new.
Another way to avoid shopping in the fast fashion industry is to rent your clothes for events and occasions. There are multiple online stores that allow you to rent an outfit for a fraction of the cost of buying. They usually clean the clothes themselves and protect you against damages. It’s a great way to get a nice outfit for an event without the heavy price tag. It also means you avoid buying clothes that you know will never be worn again. Here are some of our picks for ways to rent clothes, save money and the planet.
9. Hurr Collective
Online clothes rental service, Hurr Collective, is a great way to browse designer dresses and accessories and return them when you are done. You simply choose your clothes, select a delivery date and rental period, and the clothes come to you. The clothes come with a Fit Guarantee, with a fee that covers next-day delivery, dry cleaning, and damage cover. When your rental time is over you simply return the clothes in the reusable bag and send them back. All done. Choose from designer dresses, jumpsuits, and more, as well as a bag and shoes to match.
10. Front Row
Whether going back to work, on date nights, or to celebrations, Front Row are here to help. With high end designer spotlights and new arrivals. There’s always something to rent and make a splash with your outfit with Front Row. You can even book an appointment for a Styling Session in their private Mayfair showroom.
11. Hire Street
HireStreet is ready for your fashion needs. With outfits from premium brands, from party wear and holiday style. Simply choose your outfit, select your rental period and delivery address. When it arrives, you only remove the ribbon once you’re happy with the item (so they know which ones have been worn). Once you’ve returned it, they’ll wash it for you!
OnLoan works on a membership basis. You can choose between renting 2 or 4 items per month. Choose your items to rent for a monthly subscription, and then return when you’ve had enough. You can pause or cancel at any time, with 2 items per month costing £69 on clothes with an average value of £500. Choose from stylish designs whether casual or formal.
13. By Rotation
By Rotation hosts a rental service through their app. You can access designer clothes and bags at a fraction of retail prices by renting off real people. Send requests for clothing, choose your rental period, and collect at an arranged public location or receive via courier. Lenders are responsible for cleaning, renters are responsible for returning, and By Rotation’s peer review system ensures trust between both parties.
Repair Your Current Clothes
It’s no obvious fact that most people nowadays do not know how to sew or mend their clothing. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have your clothes repaired though. Parting with worn out clothes can be difficult, but a hole in the elbow or a rip in a seam doesn’t have to mean the end of your garment’s lifeline.
If you do possess the skills, try fixing your clothes yourself rather than letting them go. Alternatively, you can find local seamstresses or tailors to repair damaged clothes and extend their life. It’s a great solution to buying new and it means you don’t have to part with your most beloved items. A simple Google search for ‘Seamstress near me’ will help put you in touch with someone who can help to repair your clothes, and often it will cost much less than replacing the items altogether.
Host Clothes Swap Parties
This is a great way to refresh your wardrobe while having fun and reducing the strain on your purse strings! Hosting clothes swap parties is a way to borrow and exchange items with friends to try some new outfits. It’s an opportunity to get together and talk about fashion, if that’s what you're interested in. It’s also a great way to try on new styles without fully investing in new outfits.
Everyone simply brings some items and outfits they might be tired of or don’t mind exchanging. Then, each person gets to dig through their friends’ clothing and find something new. This way, it’s like you’re getting new clothes without breaking the bank or contributing to fast fashion. At the next clothes swap you can either swap back or rotate the clothes around again.
The Future of Fashion
Whatever the method you use to try to diminish your impact on the environment, these are some great alternatives to fast fashion. By choosing to buy second hand clothes, repair your clothes, or even rent your outfits, you can help to reduce the harmful effects of the fast fashion industry. Many sustainable fashion brands ask their consumers to think hard about their purchases, and that still applies. Where you can, it’s best to only buy what you actually need, and what you know you will get a lot of wear out of.
The future of fashion relies on these small swaps where possible, so that the fashion industry moves towards a more sustainable future. No matter whether you’re updating your wardrobe or looking into how to reduce your environmental impact, we think these alternatives to buying fast fashion are a great place to start.