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Major clothing brand waking up to ditch “fast fashion”



Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 11/09/23

Our wallets and the planet will thank us for making this shift ... and we bet Pope Francis would approve!

Clothing is a daily essential, so it’s kind of shocking to find out just how big a problem the clothing industry is.

Clothing used to be made to last, but not anymore. Just since 2000, the average number of times an item was worn decreased by 36%. At the same time, clothing sales doubled from 100 to 200 billion units a year. And that’s not even taking into account the fashion industry wasting billions of dollars and its environmental impact.

Those numbers are mind blowing. We are churning through poorly made clothing products in a way that would have been completely foreign to our great-grandparents … and to humans for most of history. For millennia, every garment was made slowly and carefully to last as long as possible.

There’s good news, though. A few brands are waking up to the harm of “fast fashion” and starting to offer sustainable options.

Major retailer H&M now offers an option to buy “pre-loved clothing,” in partnership with ThredUp, an online thrift store for clothing. Their website says, “Extending your clothes’ lifespan is a great way to look after your wardrobe and our planet.”

Totally apart from the environmental effects, buying secondhand clothing is also a lot easier on the wallet, which can be a real boon in this economy!

If you’re on the fence about using ThredUp, I want to put in a personal plug. I’ve been buying through the site for several years and have scored all kinds of cute outfits from higher-end brands like J. Crew and Anthropologie for a real steal. I’m wearing jeans from ThredUp as I type this! 

For beginners to the site, know that you can personalize your search in highly specific detail, not only searching by size and brand but also by things like fabric material and item condition. You can even choose to search only for clothing that is “New with tags” if you prefer.

ThredUp and similar online clothing resale shops are an amazing resource for so many reasons. They make fashion more affordable and more sustainable. They’re especially useful if you have little kids who grow out of their clothing quickly!

It’s so good to see a major retailer like H&M partner with ThredUp. In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis wrote, “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.” This kind of partnership seems like a simple way to put care for the environment into action.

Here’s hoping we see more of this going forward for savvy shoppers. Our wallets and the planet will thank us … and we bet Pope Francis would approve! 

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