Can Holiday Shopping be Sustainable?

Laura Madden shops secondhand
Photo: Aaron Blackburn

Why Shopping Secondhand for the Holidays Matters

By Laura Madden

If you’ve been following our recent fashion features, it’s no surprise that we support secondhand shopping, especially local secondhand retailers such as My Sister’s Closet. As many of us join the holiday shopping hustle and bustle, why not consider supporting your local economy and shopping secondhand retailers nearby. Consignment, vintage, and thrift stores are packed with unique and hard-to-find gift ideas just waiting to be discovered.

Why Shop Secondhand?

There are many reasons why shopping secondhand is a good idea: financial, environmental, to support a good cause, to make a style statement, etc. Personally, I support the secondhand clothing industry as an environmental stance, and to make a statement for a more sustainable and responsible fashion industry. Every purchase made is a vote for more of what we want to see in the world. I believe that secondhand shopping, whether high-end consignment, vintage, or thrift, is the most sustainable shopping you can do. The resources have already been used and you are extending the life-cycle of discarded items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Sadly, the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, only after oil. Just over three years ago, I watched the True Cost documentary (which I highly recommend), and it sold me on the idea of secondhand shopping. True Cost reveals both the environmental and social injustices in the mainstream fashion industry. In addition to the environmental benefits of shopping secondhand, my wardrobe hasn’t been the same, not to mention the money I save compared to shopping for brand new. For me, the fact that the fashion industry is trashing the Earth burns a hole in my heart. It is unacceptable, and I believe it is avoidable. We can do better. This is where our secondhand retailers come in to save the day, offering a stylish, affordable and eco-friendly shopping option.

By Shopping Second Hand You are:

• supporting your local economy
• reducing waste
• conserving resources
• decreasing the demand on the fashion industry to
produce cheaper clothing faster
• taking a stance to support a more just and
responsible fashion industry
• saving money

We are fortunate to have the support of My Sister’s Closet in spreading this message and creating a conscious consumer movement, both locally and globally. The featured look was sourced from the Lincoln Village MSC location, styled by COO Tess Loo, shot at the Phoenix Transfer Center, overlooking the Recycling operation. In the City of Phoenix and almost all municipalities around the US, fashion is not recyclable in a traditional sense. Textiles are not allowed in our blue recycling bins; recycling operations simply can not process them. They also do not belong in our trash bins. No matter how far gone an old pair of socks, towels or undergarments may be, these items are very harmful once they make their way to landfill. As textiles start to break down and decompose they release harmful gases, such as methane, into the atmosphere. If you have unwanted clothing, please consider consigning them at recycled-fashion retailers like My Sister’s Closet or donating. If you have unwanted and unusable clothing items and textiles, please donate them to Goodwill, which does recycle items that they can not sell, or to American Textile Recycling Service (ATRS), which recycles all textiles, and has donation drop-off locations nationwide. Please refer to American Textile Recycling Service for drop-off locations. I want to convey the importance of both recycling our fashion and recycling our goods responsibly to create a healthier, happier, and more sustainable planet. As we move into this holiday season, which is traditionally known as a time of excess and increased amounts of waste entering the landfills, we all can do our part. I believe that when we know better we do better. Please check with your local public works departments for what is and is not recyclable. If you need additional resources or ideas on how you can shop secondhand for your holiday needs, or how you can responsibly dispose of unwanted goods, I encourage you to reach out to me through my social media or website (see bio). I am here to help you make the most sustainable choices possible for you!

Laura Madden is a fashion advocate, model, and creator of Laura Madden Lifestyle, a lifestyle brand and blog that inspires a life of style, sustainability and self-esteem. Visit Laura Madden and follow her on Instagram @iamlauramadden for sustainable shopping tips and her sustainable fashion finds.

Clothing provided by My Sisters Closet
Styled by Tess Loo
Modeled by Laura Madden
Photo by Aaron Blackburn
Shot at City of Phoenix North Gateway Transfer Station
Location Provided by City of Phoenix Public Works Dept.
Featured Look
Top- Kate Spade, Size XS, $49.95
Skirt- (no label) $49.95
Coat- Topshop, Size XS, $39.95
Shoes- Isola, Size 8.5, $14.95
Clutch- Loeffler Randall, $69.95

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