Why I Shop Resale (a Second Serve manifesto)

I started shopping on resale sites because I have a lot of nostalgia for certain items I can’t find anywhere else. For example I had a hankering for Clark Wallabees years ago, broken in just as the ones my brother past down to me as a kid (If you are unfamiliar with Wallabees, they are the yellow suede moccasin-type shoes with a spongey sole that kind of gummed up as they got old). I also found an old school L.L. Bean navy down vest, identical to the one my mother wore around the house growing up. It’s made of rip-stop nylon and its pretty puffy, not exactly sleek like the nano grid ones you see today. I don’t wear it that much but I like seeing it hanging on the hook in the hall. One of my latest finds is a pair of navy blue suede Tretorns (If you see a preppy trend here, I spent the early 1980’s, which are apparently my formative fashion years, on the pink and green streets of Barrington, RI, so all this makes sense). I do have an ongoing quest, not exactly preppy, for Asics wrestling shoes, white with black stripes. I wore them in high school (because David Letterman did). I need a men’s size 7, the more beat up the better. Those remain elusive.
(my Wallabees, gummy and stuck with dog hair)

(Sixth grade me took pink oxfords to heart) 

I also shop resale because its cheaper: this is no newsflash. And I will search for a bargain. This is probably because of my Yankee upbringing. In fact I briefly considered “Perfectly Good” as a name for this organization (but I didn’t think my grandmother’s voice should be the vibe). But you can also buy new, pre-owned stuff, cheaper than the retail selling price (“new with tags”). For whatever you need, there is someone, on some site, that usually has what you are looking for. It may take some persistence and patience, but I find this fun. And I know I’m not alone!

Vintage items and bargains are why I started shopping resale but the reason I want to celebrate the practice now is because of the benefit to the environment. It’s kind of obvious- if you buy something already made you are not depleting resources for a new item. You are re-using a finished product that otherwise might be thrown away. Many clothes end up in landfills, even some clothing that are donated to charities. I’m not going to preach (too much) to you here, but trust me it’s a bad situation. With just a glance at how the fashion industry operates, you understand why we should embrace buying used goods.

In addition, resale eliminates my need to scrutinize the whole fashion chain of events that needs to happen in order for me to get the new item I want to purchase. I am concerned about the condition of the workers who sew my dress- but what is that condition exactly? I want to know that they are paid a fair wage. But what is the fair wage? I want to know that the materials used to make products are sustainable. What is sustainable? And can I trust the information that I'm getting? It’s a chunk of research and time to find out what goes into that navy blue halter dress that I want. There are a few brands that have been around that I trust-Patagonia, Stella McCartney-but there aren't many. It's just safer and easier to buy resale. Or, here's a thought, I could buy nothing at all! Consumption seems to cause all the problems, doesn't it? Do I need that dress? The answer is no. I applaud buying nothing but I am not there yet in practice. I will work on it though. Until I get there, I will focus on resale.

There are many people doing the same. Whether people buy for nostalgia or unique one-of-a kind items, for a bargain, or for environmental and social reasons, the resale movement has exploded. And this is a great thing. We at Second Serve want to add yet another reason to buy resale-the funding of the cause of your choice.  Think about that! You the consumer have the power and agency to direct money to the the nonprofit you believe in, helping that nonprofit in its mission to promote positive change. And you do this by shopping! You get something you want or need, and all the while the environment is unscathed. That's the win-win-win. And if this idea can work on this site with fashion resale, I think it can work with anything. It's worth a try! I want to see what we can do for our local community organizations that are fighting the good fight. Resale proceeds can and should go to nonprofits! I want to see our clothing used and circulated. I want the environment spared when I make my purchases. We can do this. We can shop differently.  Do I hear an Amen?!?

That is all. It's time to shop the site. And tell your friends to do the same.


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