By Hanna Lumi and Ava Varano
The term “fast fashion” was coined in 2007, with the fashion industry being one of today’s major corporations which broadcast the term “sustainability”. Many vintage curators who resell their clothing found via secondhand stores face scrutiny in the eyes of society. Between trend cycles, the environmental destruction in the hands of mass clothing production (I.e., Climate Change), and the demographics of who is buying/reselling these clothes, there is an interesting conversation to be had.
Societal expectancy to conform to trending fashion standards are not only mentally and physically demanding, with the pressures to “fit in” or emulate a popular body type, but it is incredibly expensive. The trend cycle moves fast paced, from Juicy Couture tracksuits to statement necklaces; with 2000’s socialite wear in style dating back to the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the rise in 2010 fashion making its “comeback” as of late. Well known fast fashion brands who participate in child labor and the allure of consumerism, will promote these current trends to capture a naïve minds’ attention. Not to mention the promotion of these fast fashion brands on social media “influencers” personal pages, those who are being paid a copious amount of money to promote these companies, further implanting this “trendy” ideology.
According to Fashion Revolution, which is a non-profit activism movement for fashion: the fashion industry produces 150 billion garments a year, with approximately only 7.9 billion people alive today. Not only does producing clothing include the mass use of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions, but thousands of animals are fatally affected by discarded textiles, daily. Oceans and natural reserves are being taken over by cotton crops and litter, with mass produced fast fashion companies polluting air, rivers, and streams.
Secondhand reselling apps such as eBay and Poshmark are widely popular among society, with an average revenue of 5 billion and 266 million dollars. In recent times, specifically around 2015, Depop has become the main website used for reselling among todays’ youth. Depop is described as a “peer-to-peer social e-commerce company based in London, with additional offices in Manchester, Milan, and New York.” A major controversy including the popular reselling site, was all the rage on TikTok recently, (the most used social media app of the age, around February of this year.) A user by the name of Jack posted a thrift-haul where she showcased her vintage findings from a local secondhand store, in which she modeled them, promoted her personal Depop account, and proceeded to resell said clothing items for more money than what she paid for.
This young woman received an obscene amount of hate, calling her “parasitic”, telling her that she was equivalent to this generations’, “greedy landlords.” It is important to note that Jack is a low-income college student who is completely financially independent. This vintage reseller took to other forms of social media to address this scandal saying, “All overflowing, all restocking hourly, and all sending truckloads of excess clothing to the bins. It’s terrifying to see the amount of clothing going to waste, while fast fashion continues to pollute and abuse their workers. Reselling pushes circular fashion, sustainable consumption, and helps low-income individuals earn a living wage off of endless clothing.”
A twitter user writes, “people who go to thrift stores, find amazing shit like this, and then sell it all on Depop for 4x the price are the landlords of this generation.” With another user defending the Depop reseller, writing, “I hate to break it to you but like, if someone goes to a thrift store and sifts through otherwise “ugly” clothes and finds 5 pieces out of hundreds that are trendy TODAY the upcharge they put on Depop is for their time. Vintage sourcing IS a legitimate job.”
Wherever one stands on this issue of reselling, it is incredibly important to take into account the demographics of who is reselling these pieces. The class system, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sex, sexuality, education, and employment are all important demographics to be thought about when dealing with supply and demand, self-employed resellers.
The TikTok user who was ridiculed to no end is not a wealthy individual. If one was to resell products they found secondhand, and upcharge said products, it would be a different situation if someone with a higher-class income status was doing such, as it would be taking advantage of lower-income individuals. The true perpetrators here are the companies mass producing clothes, destroying our environment, globally, who are upholding trend cycles which promote unrealistic beauty standards and the desire to climb the social-class hierarchy in American society, and those who are making billions and billions of dollars using unpaid child labor, while filling their already overflowing pockets.
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