How pre-owned luxury is saving the planet
Unless you’re like a certain Twitter-obsessed President, you’ll be aware of the crisis our planet is facing. A recent United Nations report on climate change warned that we’re in danger of increasing the Earth’s temperature 2.7 degrees by 2040. In practical terms, that means towns washed away, punishing droughts, and global food shortages.
It’s no understatement to say that the ills of the fashion industry are numerous, their effects on our planet devastating. The industry is one of the major causes of global warming. Our mindless consumption is destroying the Earth by devouring resources, polluting environments and saturating landfill. Estimates suggest that clothing and footwear production alone are accountable for 8% of pollution.
The good news is that the damage is still reversible, but we need a radical rethink of the way we consume clothes. Think mindful, premium investments instead of impulsive, inexpensive and throwaway. The pre-owned luxury movement is a big hit with green living influencers, but can wearing pre-owned Chanel really save the planet? We find out.
The clothing industry is an enormous drain on our planet’s precious and increasingly scarce resources. When you shop designer consignment, you’re helping to conserve these necessities. Every new pair of jeans produced requires 1800 gallons of water: that’s more than seven years’ worth of drinking water. This is a deadly misdirection of resources, often in countries where water is already scarce. In some cases, the industry has already altered the natural world. The Aral Sea, once one of the world’s largest lakes is all but a puddle now thanks to our appetite for fast fashion.
But it’s not just what we put into our garments that is causing global warming. Estimates suggest that 20% of the world's industrial water pollution is a result of fashion production. The chemicals used are damaging the environment, as well as causing health problems for the workers who use them. Choosing pre-owned luxury not only reduces the demand for new goods but also maximizes the use of existing garments, making them more environmentally friendly with each wear.
Buy Less Wear More
A survey conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation discovered that the number of times we wear garments before discarding them has dropped by 36%. As fashion has become less expensive it has become more disposable. Our goal should be to make clothes that we treasure for years, instead of items that get discarded after one or two wears.
The pollution of our planet by the fashion industry culminates in clothes dumped in landfill or incinerated, emitting more harmful gases into the atmosphere. The USA sends one garbage truck of clothes to landfill or the incinerator every second of every day. The luxury consignment market extends the life cycle of clothes, saving them from landing in that garbage truck too soon.
Fuel the Fire
And that’s just the clothes that customers throw away in household trash. Think about the fast fashion brands who overproduce stock in a bid to hit unrealistic business targets, ending up with a massive surplus they cannot sell even at the lowest prices. When it emerged that retailers were burning this excess stock the world was outraged. The now infamous New York Times report about the Swedish town that used unsold H&M clothing as a source of fuel highlighted the revolting results of overproduction.
Wearing your pre-owned Gucci loafers or consignment Louis Vuitton bag will not only cut waste, prevent pollution and reduce landfill, it will encourage fast fashion retailers to stem the damage they are doing to our planet. Direct action is powerful, and the pre-loved luxury fashion movement is unequivocal in the belief that over-saturating the world with clothes that we do not need is no longer acceptable and must not happen in our name.