At the very core of slow-fashion and sustainable practices is the belief that consumers are creating long lasting relationships with clothing of higher quality and consciousness through buying secondhand. This approach develops the idea that garments are not single wear items within a vast wardrobe, perhaps a cheap shirt in a bad color bought on a whim during an online sale, but instead an extension of whatever soul will consciously be wearing it over time.
Constructing these long-lasting relationships with our clothes is as intimate and effortful as creating and maintaining any other type of relationship, and is a skill that has been on the decline ever since online clothing outlets grabbed the attention of individuals everywhere.
Secondhand clothing, vintage, thrifted, softly loved, consigned; whatever you want to call clothing that has had previous owners, they are essentially items that have crossed previous paths to get to our own. An item that has had a lifeline apart from ours, begins on a journey once more after our choosing to give it a second chance.
Looking at a piece of clothing and creating the connection between the life it once had, the life it holds while in transit, and the life it will be taking up upon delivery to the next owner, brings a new dimension of life and cognitive awareness to clothing being purchased secondhand.
There is always a deeper meaning behind your clothes
With consciousness comes questions. How often is it as fashion consumers that we are tracing products back to the original source? How often are we digitally communicating with the distributor in regards to an item coming our way? How often do we know our new garments were touched with love before showing up in the mailbox?
These questions begin to arise when we find the time to critique the distant and distracted shopping we have been conditioned to believing is necessary, and answering them begins only when we make time to mindfully redirect our purchasing methods towards secondhand sellers.
Breaking the preexisting barriers of human connection by getting behind screens, is one of the most interesting things that has taken place during this shift in fashion as we know it. Online exchanges that are now occurring within the secondhand buying/selling world is a step in the direction of fashion inclusivity, creating a market for the people by the people, looking to bridge slow-fashion shoppers around the world through technology.
Consciously creating human connection
Talking about sustainable fashion technology during this rapidly changing period of time, like how to begin cultivating mindful purchasing practices while mostly at home, has allowed for insight into connections once built in physical spaces that now happen over internet exchanges. Attempting to create a conscious connection with a piece of clothing, done previously by way of in-person shopping spaces, is still occurring with a screen in between through secondhand apps that are also capable of providing an immersive experience.
Many fashion lovers are finding out that shopping directly from another individual on apps such as Depop, Poshmark, Marketplace, and vintage Instagram accounts, as opposed to larger fast-fashion corporations during this time of limited physical contact, is providing the human connection that would have otherwise been lost.
Maybe that’s what this movement towards secondhand shopping online has been about even before the world began shifting; creating energy exchanges between individuals through physical pieces in virtual online spaces. As consumers we are finding out what it means to cultivate new life forces in clothing that has been cherished before, and the online soul swapping that takes place to make it all possible.
The everlasting soul of Levi
After going home for a while at the beginning of shelter-in-place orders, I immediately found myself overwearing my best friend’s vintage Levi jeans she let me borrow before the world changed forever, which she purchased from non-other than Depop.
Levi has made its mark in friends and celebrities closets alike, as holy grail pieces of secondhand goods. Therefore I find the souls of those closest to me in these jeans that pass me in real life on the subway platform, show up on my Instagram feed, or are suggested to me on a Depop feed.
The Levi name is everywhere in progressive fashion circles and has been for some time, with the VP of Global Product Innovation for Levi’s Paul Dillinger being a Fashinnovator of our’s. He not only understands the history Levi’s has created through well-crafted long lasting goods, but also the timeless spirit that allows them to still trend on virtually all online platforms. After all, the denim hashtag of any online secondhand store does seem to feel like the heart of the whole app itself.
Technology and secondhand clothing
Now, more so than ever is a time in which we are changing the relationships we have and harbor with clothing, and the marketplaces we’re choosing to digitally frequent when shopping for more.
Whether time apart from fast fashion stores began presenting the world with a new perspective in regards to supply and demand, or the craving for some form of human contact during a time of distancing turned shoppers towards more intimate spaces, fashion is starting to let us in on the secret that maybe less is more. Perhaps less pieces being bought in higher quality, from smaller personal sources is the secret to the “perfect” wardrobe equation.
These apps that are creating human connection in between two screens, could perhaps begin to make up for the lack of human contact during these past few months of isolation. Technology in the warmest sense is witnessed here in this present moment, for people are sharing closets in an online space, virtually linking bedrooms all over the world.
The new normal: secondhand wardrobes
This “new normal” that is currently being investigated by the fashion world, and which we will be further discussing in our upcoming NYFW talk, simply involves a tighter web of individuals created by the conscious knitting of clothing and the spirit held between these seams. This is becoming a moment in which technology and the inner spirit of others are working in cohesion, shifting souls within the sustainable fashion community in more ways than before.
Fashion is to Love, so let’s begin by spreading that love even further than our own net, yet still staying a comfortable six feet away.
By Graziella Micklovic