Pre-loved clothing. Long before HOST, second hand shops and websites were a way for us to add original pieces to our wardrobe, already as teenagers. To express our style without plundering those fast fashion shops, filled with... sameness. Humdrum. For the love of reviving pieces, that are no longer useful to the previous owner. So it comes as no surprise that this always had to become a part of HOST. Even more: we believe that the most sustainable wardrobe - with zero compromises regarding your personal style and preferences - can be build by combining second hand treasures and sustainably made pieces. Let's share thoughts, shall we?
Because, we have been wondering ourselves: what truly is the most sustainable way of shopping? Isn't it obvious that second hand shopping is way better than buying new items? This ever growing trend seems like thé solution, because you get to buy something for a small(er) price, while helping the world get rid of even more waste, and become a better place. Perfect, right? The reality is not that black and white. Oh, it never is.
The advantages of thriftshopping
If you were to look only at the ecological impact on a short term, it is obviously better to buy a preloved item than to buy a new item, even if the last one was produced sustainably. Creating something unavoidably means using resources and energy. And then - when it involves regular fast fashion brands - we're not even mentioning the emission of harmful stuff during production and transport.
On top of that, by buying pre-loved, you prevent a piece from ending up in a landfill too soon. The longer a piece of clothing is worn, the longer it will take for it to be added to those already giant mountains of textile waste we are dealing with. By shopping second hand, you drastically prolong the lifespan of a piece of clothing.
Thriftshopping can save you a considerable amount of money. And whether or not you only have a small budget to spend on clothes, you're making a statement by choosing thriftshops over fast fashion brands, that offer all possible trendy pieces at super small prices. Choosing second hand shopping, is also making a conscious choice not to invest in that kind of shops and the industry behind them. The more people choose to only shop second hand and/or sustainable brands, the louder this demand will get for the fast fashion industry: change your game!
Invest in new, sustainable wardrobe staples
There are, however, a few things to consider.
Because second hand shopping is often more interesting for your wallet than new, sustainable pieces (we note there is a big difference between cheap second hand clothing and qualitative/ designer / vintage items), the danger of over-consuming or making wrong choices is around the corner. And in that way, second hand shopping - just like fast fashion brands - may seduce people to buy items they do not need or will only wear once or twice.
Also, we think it's important to never loose sight of materials, quality and origin. Nowadays, a lot of fast-fashion-fashionista's offer their barely worn impulse purchases on many different websites on the internet. Not only are many of those items of poor quality, they are often made of synthetic materials. Research has proven that the older they are, the more they leave microplastics behind while washing. All this to the point that your sustainable second hand purchase... might not be so sustainable at all. Or help to improve the future in any way, for that matter, because it's likely a lot of the proceeds of these purchases will be invested back into fast fashion.
We said it before: if you are conscious of what you add to your wardrobe, if you want good pieces, in the right size and fit, that combine well one another, it's difficult / not always possible to find this on the second hand market. Think good, timeless basics, like a white top for example, in high quality materials. You won't find that easily, because people wear them till they are really end-of-life. Sustainable fashion brands come to the rescue here. To us, it makes sense to shop the solid base of our wardrobe from eco-fashion brands, and spice it up with a lucky (conscious!) second hand purchase now and then.
Last but surely not least, maybe even most important: we began by stating that, on a short term, buying second hand items has a lower ecological impact than buying new ones. However, when you choose to buy a new item from a sustainable brand, preferably in a local shop, you help those pioneers changing the game. Because this way not only you invest in local economy, you support innovation, sustainable development and a more sustainable future. By choosing sustainable fashion, you choose a lower ecological impact, more natural and non-toxic materials. At the same time, you invest in qualitative pieces you are likely to wear a long time, and like that, lower your carbon footprint.
So we are adding a chapter to this adventure. We don't know yet where it will go, if this will ever turn into a real life extension of HOST, or how we will create space to be more and more involving all of you who are interested: we trust the story will write itself. But for now, we are proud to add a page of pre-loved items to our webshop. All carefully selected pieces, in mint condition, waiting for a lucky new owner to prolong their life. Go discover them HERE! Everything is available to try on in store as well, just ask for it.
As from May, we will start to take on more pieces. We will be very VERY selective, as we want everything to be available for fitting in store (which ofcourse adds great value compared to only having an online platform), and our stock space is super limited. Interested in using our platform for pieces that fit our concept, and are just hanging in your closet, waiting for a second life? Read HERE all about how we will be working for the time being.
Please feel free to leave thoughts behind in the comments, we are really curious what your ideas are, regarding all of this. Even more: it's what we need to take the next step in this adventure!