I do like nice clothes – to be honest with you right at the start. I also like to express myself with my clothes. I also think sustainable and ethical lifestyle does not mean that I can’t have nice things. It does mean however that I need to source the things I want differently. Now, coming to style and clothes (notice: I’m not talking about fashion. Fashion as it is a non existent term for me. I’m way beyond wanting to be “fashionable” (which is why I belive you can buy secondhand and be stylish) and following hypes and crowds. But I think most grown up people are like that: found already what they like and work for them) there are 2 rules that I follow.
My 2 rules when it comes to buying clothes:
- Second hand first
- IF it cannot be found second hand then it needs to be from an ethical and sustainable brand.
But it this post, I will only talk about the first one.
So why is important to favour second hand clothes as a first choice?
I believe we already produced so much stuff that we really should reuse those at the first place. By buying second-hand clothes you support circular economy (often a charity too, here in the UK) and you save clothes and shoes ending up in landfill. Creating new products requires raw material, the manufacturing process to create a new item, the energy, the shipping etc. and all this has an environmental impact. Whilst reusing and buying a second hand item is a lot better for the environment.
There is already so much clothing produced, that it could serve us for 60 years – it’s very important that we keep using all things that are already made, keep them in circulation until they can be used. (Read more about circular economy in my article here.)
This is why we all need to put different glasses on and view buying second hand rather as the NORM. In the last few years we’ve forgotten how abnormal it is to wear new clothes every week. That’s causing a massive environmental issue.
This is why I thought I’d share my favourite online place where I shop for second hand clothes, some of these you might already know and maybe you find some new ways too.
It has been my firm favourite for years, always lots of items from lots of individual sellers, perfect for everyday and casual items especially. Just search what I need and browse thousands of items. The downside is that there’s also lot of crap on Ebay but after using it for years I really developed an eye filtering those out. Look for decent photos and description and when in doubt: ask the seller! I also often sell on Ebay. As a seller you pay a percentage to Ebay as seller’s fee. I find Ebay’s customer service excellent. When it comes to disputes though, it often favours the buyer’s side, like in case of lost parcels. Even if it’s not the seller’s fault, they can end up out of pocket, in case the courier lost the item. That being said, you can find a lot discounts for Ebay like Nectar points to spend and other coupons – just hop over to this site.
I’ve tried Depop both as a seller and a buyer, I found that items are generally more expensive as on Ebay for example, but also more unique and better condition items. Depop is a marketplace for fashion only and it also tries to be a little bit of social media: you can like photos and sellers are encouraged to showcase their items in a unique and unusual way like in magazines to attract the fashion minded crowd. It works well but it’s as a buyer to pay a premium compared to other online second hand clothing sites. This however is only down to the seller, who sets the price and it’s a fixed price, no auctions. As a seller you pay a percentage to Depop as seller’s fee. I
Vinted is also a fashion marketplace – although you can also buy home items. It’s less hyped in fashion conscious circles as Depop, but prices are cheaper too. Vinted charges BUYERS a fixed and variable (percentage) fee for every transaction. Reading the fees it’s a little unclear how much is the variable, this you can only find out at check out, what total you get. This fee is this to cover payment processing and protection for your order, tracking etc.
Loopster offers premium quality second hand (hand checked) from top high street and designer brands. They also work with some retailers and sell their seconds with minor faults that are new but the items don’t meet the retail standards or are from previous seasons. For sellers though, it works totally differently from the above sites. You need to request a Loopster Clear Out bag and fill with at least 15 items and then pay you upfront for all the items they can resell. You typically get £1 – £8 for high street brands per item. They take anything but supermarket brands and the clothes need to be in good, clean, wearable condition.
Dubbing themselves as the UK’s largest secondhand online store – there is indeed a lot you can buy here. Thrift+ was originally founded to make the charity shopping experience as good as the best online clothes retailers, ensuring fewer clothes end up in landfill. But now you can also earn credits to spend it with Thirft+ (or get John Lewis vouchers) and give to your chosen charity. With Thrift+ you also order your mail bag, fill it, send it off and Thrift+ will sort them, take the photos and list your items. They also set the price. Thrift+ also lists your stuff on Ebay doubling your chances.
The Dress Change
The Dress Change is an online womenswear exchange allowing women to swap clothing, shoes and accessories. It is a membership-based platform; with a free version offering one exchange per month and a paid version offering five exchanges for £9 per month. That’s a whole new outfit on a monthly basis for under a tenner!
Oxfam is definitely my favourite charity shop, the clothes are always in great condition and. it’s probably the cheapest charity shop of all! They also have an online shop, where prices are similar to their brick and mortar shops, maybe a little more expensive, but at least you get a flat rate on shipping, which is £3.95 with free returns.
ASOS Vintage Marketplace
To sell on ASOS Marketplace you need to be a small businesses essentially. They have independent brands and vintage boutiques from all over the globe selling their products. They are curated indy shops and sellers with quality items – so not exactly on Ebay prices. So unlike the rest of ASOS, when you purchase something on ASOS Vintage Marketplace, you will have to pay the shipping on the items from each sellers.
I’ve recently discovered this little online vintage and secondhand shop called SecondFirst and I bought a pair of lovely vintage shorts from here. I was very happy with everything so I include them on my list. They offer the highest quality, pre-loved clothing, all items are carefully selected and the prices are very reasonable.
Founded in 2018, Manifesto Woman is a lifestyle store with a difference – everything is secondhand or has sustainability at its core. And it’s design-led, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice style to save the planet. Really unique pieces in fantastic condition, but of course you pay the premium for them. The stock is updated daily. They do work with sellers – as in you can be a second hand shop and you can give some pieces to Manifesto Women, but they only take designer, premium and boutique brands as well as the top end of high street brands. But no Zara and Topshop type of things.
Just recently came across of Re-fashion. They are a big site where you can buy all sorts of second hand and vintage items (with lots of great and simple search options depending what are you looking for). They use the money to fund sustainable causes and charities. As a donor, you will be sent a bag to fill along with instructions about how to return it for free. The higher the value of the item sold, the more the charity gets (for example up to £40 the charity gets 20%, over £100 that is already 60% for the charity). Unlike any other sites, Re-fashion also sells and buys upcycled fashion and you can even order a “rag bag” from them. Rag Bags contain items they can’t sell due to small defects – a broken zip, stain or small tear.
Specialising in vintage fashion, Rokit is over 30 years old started out in Camden Market with a single stall. they sell all sorts of vintage fashion from designer and high street brands. Prices vary but the overall look is curated so the prices are reflecting that. Having said that, you can get your hands on real gems. Their famous in-house designs, Rokit originals made entirely of reworked vintage, upcycled clothing. This line is totally affordable and they look really unique and interesting.
BuyCharity is a unique online Charity Shopping platform where every selling organisation is pre-checked to ensure they are a fully bona fide Charity or Community Interest Company. Every Charity or Community Interest Company is committed to use all the revenue generated by using the BuyCharity online platform in pursuance of their charitable objectives.
There are of course lots of little insta shops I find lovely things and inspiration and just loving looking at beautiful second hand items – there are many. Lovely to see the second hand first movement taking off, because it really normalises buying second hand clothes and helps to smash that stupid stigmatic thing that they are something to be ashamed of. On the contrary! I’m proud to buy second hand clothes as a first choice.
Bonus: Vintage Jewellery
When it comes to vintage jewellery, checking authenticity is key. Online shops need the display their National Association of Jewellers membership like AC Silver – so you know their items are genuine vintage pieces.