Promoting Sustainability in the 21st Century

March 29, 2021

Gen Z is growing up fast, and they’re taking the world by storm. With 40% of Gen Z buying secondhand apparel, footwear, and accessories. The stigma of shopping secondhand is going away, too, with 80% of Gen Z saying there’s no stigma to buying used fashion. While resale is the environmentally friendly way to shop, fast fashion is still around. Fast fashion is a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high clothing volumes. If you spend any time on social media, you will notice that thrifting and shopping resale has become “trendy.” With many influencers normalizing resale, the stigma is going away. Promoting sustainability in the 21st century is becoming easier, especially with the changes made during our current crisis.

Promoting sustainability in your community

Promoting Sustainability in the 21st Century

Most people didn’t grow up shopping consignment and most likely still don’t. The norm is to go to the mall and shop at the big stores. However, the way companies made those clothes is often overlooked. As a consignment store, you have the perfect platform to spread the word about the importance of consignment. The RealReal and ThredUp are two excellent resources for facts about consignment and resale. Using their facts, you can educate your audience about how great it is to shop consignments and sell old clothes. It’s also important to spread the word about what a consignment store really is. Most people don’t believe they can find good clothing in consignment stores, prove them wrong by showing them it’s just like any other store but with more variety.

In Meredith Fineman’s podcast, It Never Gets Oldher inaugural episode “Is Second-Hand Clothing… Gross?” Fineman shares an anecdote about her first experience with consignment. She was at a consignment store with her mom in Washington, D.C. called Secondhand Rose. Fineman remembers thinking they were in a boutique, and as she was browsing around, she spots a lime green that pops out at her. She looks at the tag and notices it’s a C&C California tank, which was all the rage during that time. She looked at the tag which to her surprise said $9, she wondered why it was so affordable. The owner of the shop, Rose, then explained that it’s consignment, meaning it was owned by someone else before. “Ever since then I realized I could get what I wanted for less, I could dress how I wanted for less…” said Fineman.

Promoting the circular economy

Promoting Sustainability in the 21st Century

“(It’s all about) valuing the clothes that you own and wearing them again and again, and maybe giving them on to your daughter, or son, whatever the case may be,” says Vogue’s Anna Wintour when speaking about fast fashion. She condemns fast fashion and buying disposable clothes and instead encourages people to re-wear clothing and pass it on. It’s understandable how someone important in the fashion industry, such as Anna Wintour, would have an opinion on disposable clothing. People who value fashion don’t want those pieces that people wore once to end up in a landfill. Selling or giving away used clothing to family members or strangers gives the clothes meaning and purpose.

Promoting reusing clothing

Promoting reusing clothing

The great thing about consignment is that you don’t have to feel bad about all the unethical clothing you’ve purchased. You can sell those clothes once you’re through with them and purchase consigned items. Meredith Fineman says she’s made thousands of dollars from reselling clothing. The best way to approach teaching people about consignment is to be welcoming. There was a time where we were all unaware of how unethical our favorite clothing brands are. It’s important to be accepting and welcoming to those who are learning about sustainable shopping.

The most important part of promoting sustainability in the 21st century is to make it feel normal. Make sure your shop gives the best first impression from scent to looks. Here are some ideas on modernizing your consignment store and giving your consignment store a new look.

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Paulette Squicimari