How I am Getting My Quick Style Repair, In A Method That is Cheaper And Extra Sustainable

I’ve been on a slow but steady journey of reassessing my relationship with fast fashion for a while now. I use the word ‘reassessing,’ because despite wanting to be more sustainable when buying clothes, I understand the realities of my bank account. Buying clothes from sustainable brands is expensive, so I can’t fully let go of the world of fast fashion just yet.

Instead, I’ve been finding ways to shop more sustainably whilst also not breaking the bank.

My first attempt to build a capsule wardrobe was a little hit and miss. I intended to buy plain, colour-coordinated pieces I could wear interchangeably, but I couldn’t ignore that my closet was getting blander.

So, what was the answer? I didn’t want to go back to my early twenties’ wardrobe, which was filled with fun (but poor quality) £5 dresses and tops that went straight into the bin after a few washes. Nor could I face another night out in that same white shirt.

To hit a middle ground, I’ve decided I’m ready to go back into the world of secondhand fashion. In my teens I lived at the charity and vintage shops at Brick lane. As I got older, online shops like Pretty Little Thing and BooHoo became popular and my love for vintage clothes disappeared.

But it’s never been easier to get the best of both worlds, thanks to the boom of resale apps like Depop and Vinted.

For those yet to sign up, the concept of resale apps is pretty simple. Sellers take photos of their items with a product description and set their price. You can then bid to buy. It’s like eBay for the next generation.

Though Vinted was founded back in 2008, the business value is estimated to have grown by $3.2 billion in the last two years alone thanks to the sudden surge of interest in pre-loved clothing.

I’ve had the app for a few years now, but I used it mainly to sell clothes. This year I challenged myself to see what I can buy on there.

Habiba Katsha in a pre-loved Urban Outfitters top.

Similar to charity shops – which can be filled with a lot of clothes you don’t want – it’s hard to navigate apps like Vinted and Depop. But thankfully both have search functions so you can refine what you’re seeing.

At first I tried searching for things like “brown top” or “maxi skirt,” but nothing seemed to come up that I liked. I got frustrated, but then I started to type in the names of brands I ordinarily shopped at to see what would come up – and it was a hit.

I started by searching ‘Weekday’ and at first glance, I spotted a Weekday dress I’ve been dying to buy, which has been sold out on the website. I saved it. Then, I proceeded to type in ‘ASOS’ and managed to find a matching co-ord, which had also sold out on the website. I bought it straight away.

I was thrilled to see so many items from fast fashion websites available for me to buy, and at a cheaper price point.

I found that the more I saved, the more the algorithm served up pieces in my style. And this is how I was able to get the infamous ribbed white crop top from Urban Outfitters that’s been doing the rounds on TikTok.

It felt like I was being blessed by the secondhand gods so I wanted to dig a bit deeper. I tried my luck and searched for items from more pricier brands.

Susamusa is a sustainable vintage-inspired label that I’ve been spying on the last couple of months. Though the price point of the clothes bought new is a little too steep for me, I was relieved when I saw some items on Vinted. I managed to snag a top, black trousers and gray cargos from the brand.

Habiba wearing second hand Susamusa. Habiba wearing second hand Susamusa.

All this was well and good, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just buying clothes from big brands, but small business owners too. And that’s when I stumbled on a crotchet top made by someone in Nottingham. It was only £20 (a steal) so I purchased it straight away.

The handmade top paired with Susamusa trousers.The handmade top paired with Susamusa trousers.

It’s hard to pull away from the traditional fast fashion sites, but being on Vinted reminded me how fun secondhand buying can be. Most of the clothes I bought had been worn once or twice by the sellers, so they were practically brand new.

There’s certainly a question as to whether we should be using these services to buy fast fashion clothes, rather than avoiding certain brands completely. But at least it’s extending the life-cycle of these items – it’s better for them to be re-sold than ending up in the bin after being worn twice.

The more I use resale apps, the more I’ve been able to find users selling vintage clothes, too, taking me back to my Brick lane days when I was in secondary school. Though I was overwhelmed when I first started using Vinted, it’s now become one of my go-to places to shop.

Secondhand September is over, but it’s never too late to become a secondhand clothing girl. The planet (and your bank account) will thank you for it.

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