In October 2013, Stephanie Günther gave a presentation at homo ecos: about “collaborative consumption”. In this series of nine blogs, she explains what it is, and how it can help towards a more sustainable society. Chapter 5: A Second Life for Clothes.
Reselling clothes exists since the 1970ties in second hand shops and much longer on so-called « flea markets ». But this offer was often considered to be for poor people or for young people who want to protest against consumerism and who do not care about fashion. Or special offers existed for special events, like carnival or opera balls: people could rent a suit or a fancy dress for a day or an evening.
With the proliferation of cheap clothing that filled up the wardrobes, rapidly changing fashion styles and growing ecological consciousness that throwing away rarely worn clothes is a waste of natural resources, the idea came up to exchange clothes or to resell them on internet. Organisations, private initiatives or PR-agencies started to organize local “swap parties” in cafés, pubs or public locations, where people can come to exchange or sell their clothes – or just give them away. This form of social event especially attracts young women and female teenager, but not only!
Or clothes are exchanged, sold or offered on internet platforms which are created for this purpose. One of the first sites was created in Lithuania!
In addition to this peer-to-peer exchange of clothes emerged also commercial offers of renting high value clothes and accessories like designer clothes, designer shoes or designer handbags.
And also the renting of clothes for special occasions developed with internet: evening attires, fancy dresses, wedding gowns, working garment, historical costumes, traditional regional dresses, uniforms, religious dresses, etc.
The exchanging, reselling, offering and renting of clothes has ecological and social effects: clothes are better used and accessible to people with low income. And the development of reuse and renting can also have the long-time effect that the quality of clothes becomes better (as producers might be motivated to take into account this new tendency) and the use of the clothes can therefore be extended.
- Exchange, sell or offer clothes (on internet or on local swap parties):
- Renting high value clothes or suits for special occasions:
- Germany: http://www.kostuemverleih.com/ (all sorts of special event or special purpose clothing) or http://www.trachten-dirndl-shop.de/ (traditional dresses; site also in English) or http://www.dressinthecity.de/verleih/ (designer fashion) or http://www.taschenverleih.de/ (designer handbags)
- UK: http://www.cinderella-me.co.uk/ (designer shoes)
Author: Stephanie Günther