The Rise in Thrifting
Over the course of the pandemic, second-hand store employees and owners in Canada have noticed a significant increase in thrift shoppers seeking ways to stretch their budgets, discover unique items, and avoid the creation of more waste. According to 2020 data from ThredUp, an online consignment and thrift store, while consumers bought less apparel overall throughout the pandemic, many turned to thrifting, picking up a habit they plan on keeping.
ThredUp’s data also illustrates how the demand for second-hand clothing is only beginning. In 2020, 86% (223M) consumers said they have or are open to shopping for second-hand products. This is a significant increase from 2019 when the percentage was at 70% and has essentially doubled since 2016 (see figure 3).
Retailers are an important element to the wider adoption of second-hand apparel. According to ThredUp, retailers’ adoption of resale is poised to accelerate, with 60% of retailers stating they have or are open to offering secondhand items to their customers – that is 23,800 retailers interested in offering secondhand. Similarly, 62% of retail executives say their customers are already participating in resale, with 42% stating resale will be an important aspect of their business within the next 5 years.
From a consumer standpoint, consumers state they are more willing to engage with brands offering resale. As such, retailers are embracing resale in order to satisfy consumer demands. The top 5 reasons why retail executives want to get into resale include:
- To be more sustainable
- To acquire more customers
- To attract young consumers
- To drive revenue
- To stay relevant
How exactly do retailers plan on doing this? 60% say that they will be partnering with an existing resale business, while 28% plan on building their own from scratch, and 8% plan to acquire an existing business. The number 1 reason why retailers want to partner with a proven resale business as they are not set up to handle resale logistics.
Buying used instead of new apparel displaces the CO2e emitted from the production of new clothing. An item purchased vs. new displaces 17.4 lbs of CO2 emissions, reducing its carbon footprint by 82%. Resale manages to keep items out of the landfill, displacing the carbon needed to make new clothing, and saves consumers money.
In the past decade, 6.65B items of apparel have been recirculated via the second-hand market, consumers saved about $390B by buying second-hand, and 116 lbs of CO2 were displaced by buying used instead of new apparel.
The Age of Thrifting
For many consumers, the desire to lessen the impact they have on the planet has become increasingly more important. As this change in consumers occurs, so does the number of new and existing clothing brands touting lines marketed as “sustainable.” However, the question remains; how sustainable can anything really be when you’re buying it new?
I had been asking myself this very question when I came to the decision this past year that I would no longer buy new clothing, but aim to curate my wardrobe from unique, second-hand items instead. Since then, I have managed to find some amazing items. I’ve included just a few below!
Local Thrift Shops
To promote buying second-hand, I wanted to include a few of my favourite local thrift stores, with some being exclusively sold online, while others have their own storefronts.
Location: 834 College St, Toronto
Print Vintage is known for its individually sourced, one-of-a-kind vintage items. The shop was established in 2001 in the now revitalized College Promenade neighbourhood in Toronto. The store’s owner, Shelley Pulak, sources unique vintage apparel several times each week at large recycling textile factories. These items are then brought to either the Toronto storefront or are sent to their sister store in Singapore. In addition to their storefront on College, Print Vintage sells their second-hand items on Etsy, via their Instagram page, and in-person at Toronto’s Hippie Market each Friday night. As well, Print Vintage recently established a partnership with another local vintage seller, Matthew Haskill, of Messy Bedroom vintage.
Why I Love It: I personally love Print Vintage’s amazing selection of vintage slips and classy old-school dresses.
Odd Duck vintage was launched mid-pandemic in October 2020 by Morgan Tessier. The online shop focuses on vintage clothing, home decor, and funky earrings. While currently selling exclusively through their Instagram and Etsy pages, they aim to become regulars at some local Toronto markets in the future!
“I want secondhand clothing to be the first option on people’s minds in regards to shopping – whether through vintage clothes or home decor, I want to give people the chance to be the thriftiest and oddest ducks they can be.” – Morgan Tessier
Why I Love It: I’m always fascinated by the amazing earrings Morgan manages to find. From heart-shaped lollipops to cherubic babies, she always has something fun to accessorize with.
Location: 322 College St, Toronto
Ran’s Closet is located on College St. just outside of Toronto’s bustling Kensington Market. The shop was opened in June 2021 by Ran Ryu as soon as pandemic restrictions were lifted and has been a hotspot since. Selling both secondhand and new clothing, Ran’s Closet holds a range of amazingly curated items, from unique vintage pieces to fun Hawaiian shirts, the store has something for everyone. In addition to the pieces Ran sources locally, her store also brings select pieces in from Korea.
Why I Love It: I never leave Ran’s shop without finding something fun and unique. Her shop also manages to be next door to my best friend, so you know we’re in there often!
CLOC Contemporary Consignment
Location: 2498 Yonge St, Toronto
CLOC is a Toronto-based, contemporary consignment store, curating collections of pre-loved women’s items that allow customers to stay fashion-forward while being conscious consumers. CLOC collects must-haves and hard-to-find pieces and brings them to consumers in an easy and sustainable fashion. As well, the store has a try before you buy program available, and the option for customers to book a consultation. While the shop sells exclusively online via their website, the location provided is the pickup location for any items purchased and is not currently open to the general public. However, on Friday, September 3rd, CLOC will be part of their very first outdoor market at Stackt!
Why I Love It: Who doesn’t love vintage designer items for a lesser price? I also personally love how CLOC creates outfit inspiration posts from their items on Instagram. It’s a cute and fun way to curate an outfit and help consumers see your vision.