Pre-Loved Couture

When it all boils down to it, most of us like to wear clothes. Protective, fashionable and practical, our wardrobes are full of items that cover our modesty and describe our personality. The problem when looking in our closets isn’t a question of fashion, function or need, but how green are our clothes?

Earth friendly fabrics are available in wool, fair trade cotton and even bamboo, but they are not everyone’s first choice, even those with a green mindset, as they are not readily available. Designs and sizes are limited, if you can get them at all, even the fabric is hard to find to make your own clothes, so what is the sustainable alternative?

Purchasing pre-loved fashion is a great way to help the environment and a fantastic way to find something perfect for you. Vendors of pre loved clothes have caught on the fact that people buy their clothing for many reasons, but all want something serviceable that looks good. They keep up with demand and seek out items that will not be noticed as second hand and have good wear left in them.

In an environment of mass marketing people throw away their clothes at an alarming rate. Fashion seasons change every three months, and some people feel that they have to change their wardrobe as often. How much wear can one garment get in one season? Often times, not much, and too often – not at all. Choice is another reason people change their clothes before they wear out, but because they are on our shelves it does not mean that they are produced ethically or sustainably. Cheap clothes are made from cheap labor and that in itself should be a red flag for any person with a conscience.

The clothing industry uses hideous amounts of water to dye and process their clothes, supports crops grown with chemicals and makes fabric from manmade fibers so taking steps to avoiding supporting them and their climate changing industry, is the only way to be green. Pre-owned couture has a carbon zero footprint and that’s not the only benefit.

Second hand clothing is readily available locally or on the internet, and many pre loved couture providers even upcycle the garments into something truly unique and beautiful. Upcycling keeps clothes out of landfill until it is absolutely necessary and allows good quality clothing to have a full lease of life, and the wearer be able to express their style in a way that is hard to copy.

Recycled, pre-loved or upcycled clothing are all one of a kind and unique and quirky items can be picked up from thrift shops, flea markets, the internet and second hand designer shops, but if you want to know the pedigree of your pedal pushers, try swapping amongst friends or borrowing items between family. This is especially great if they are baby clothes as they can be passed through a few babies until worn out.

Buying second hand clothes also allow you to try new styles without the risk, and afford better quality for the same money. It can also be a thrill to look for exactly the right piece, or to find one piece and base a whole new look from it. If you have never shopped for pre-loved before, start today! See what you can find, and make it a trip out with friends. Crawling thrift stores and a lunch at the local farmers market is a great excuse to save the planet, and get a whole new you.

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!