It’s a well-known fact that vintage clothing is more sustainable than fast fashion is, but a recent debate that’s been occurring is whether shopping for vintage clothing online negates the benefit of it being more sustainable. We understand that there is an argument for the shipping and packaging limiting how eco-friendly online vintage shopping can be. However, there is still a definite argument that buying vintage clothing online is more sustainable than fast fashion.
What is vintage clothing?
Before we begin explaining why fast fashion is less eco-friendly than buying vintage clothing online, let’s have a quick overview of what vintage fashion actually is.
There is no “one size fits all” (excuse the pun) definition for vintage fashion, as this depends on what you regard as vintage. The actual meaning of the term “vintage fashion” is typically known as clothing or garments that originate from a different era. As vintage clothing has been becoming more popular with younger people, this has made the classification of vintage clothing more affiliated with recent years. If you had asked a vintage clothing lover a decade ago as to whether clothing from ten years prior was vintage, you’d be laughed away. However, this is not the case for vintage clothing today.
So, why is buying vintage clothes online more sustainable than fast fashion?
This is the case for a number of reasons. Vintage fashion does not require the need for any new clothing materials to be used. Due to the fact that the clothing is already made, vintage fashion eliminates the need for another piece of clothing to be made, making it more sustainable than new clothing.
This leads us to our next point, styles and trends are moving faster today than they were even a decade ago. The world uses an extra 400% more clothing than twenty years ago, which results in more clothing waste as people are throwing away their clothes when they are no longer trendy. Less than 1% of the materials used to create fast fashion clothing are recycled to make new clothes when the pieces reach the end of their use. So, if you’re consistently buying and throwing away new clothes, it will always be much better for these clothes to have been produced and worn already.
You may say… surely shipping and packaging vintage clothes makes it less sustainable than buying fast fashion in a shop?
This, however, is not true. It’s been found that textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. This means that the material produced to create fast fashion clothing still does more damage to the environment than shipping vintage clothing bought online does.
Vintage clothing companies are also inherently more likely to care about the environment and the impact they have on it. This is why a large number of them will invest the money that they save on production into finding more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic packaging.
To conclude, it’s understandable that some people may think that fast fashion could be less damaging to the environment than vintage clothing bought online, but this is definitely not the case. Aside from the impact on the environment, vintage shopping is a more fun and unique alternative to buying your clothes from the same shops repeatedly. So, we recommend getting a group of friends together and spending a Saturday exploring your local retro, thrift and vintage shops. If you can’t quite get outside to browse, be sure to look at some vintage clothing online and upgrade your wardrobe!