Vintage & Consignment the New Green….or is it Black?


Photosource: http://www.tias.com

NY Times reported this week on the latest surge in consignment & thrift store shopping.

Rising oil prices? Tightening of the credit markets? Increases in foreclosures? Greater demand for brand-name luxury items at reduced prices? Or perhaps clothing-in-closet overload? Whatever the reasons, a great opportunity is emerging green-ify our closets in one of the best ways possible.

I agree fully with the NY Times that the trend is increasing and for me personally, I could not be more enthusiastic about it. Buying and selling used items is one of the greenest ways to stay chic AND keep textiles in the marketplace, thereby preventing or delaying their ultimate arrival to the landfill.

More and more celebrities and women of all walks are turning to vintage, consignment shops to buy, sell and/or trade in their goods. Take Fashion Dig for example offering this Debbie Harry outfit for $2500 (on sale). Or Ricky’s Exceptional Treasures, a luxury resale store on eBay. Apparently last month Ricky Serbin, the owner, recorded over 150,000 hits to the online store. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…thousands of sellers on eBay are reselling their clothing, and that does not even include all the local consignment and thrift stores found in every major city in America.

Whether the shopping is for luxury labels or new summer hits, bringing clothing back into the market and then buying used goods are remarkable ways to stay eco, while looking fresh. For me personally, I always try to drop my used clothes off at a local charity that accepts clothing…I like knowing that someone else will get use out of the clothes and that they are being recycled somehow. Since I recently moved back to the Boston area, I have not found one non-profit yet that turn to regularly; however today I learned about a cool local organization called ‘Second Chances’. Turns out they are actually having a clothing drive happening on June 25th in Somerville. They appear to have some excellent local partnerships and uses for the clothes.

Another good practice that is fun is to drop off clothes with a consignment store and get a % of the proceeds from the sale when sold. I recently discovered Porch & Wardrobe boutique in Arlington and had good success selling some clothes there so far.

Rule of thumb: if you have not used something or more than 12 months, chances are, you are not going to use it. The item is just taking up space in your closet. Meanwhile, someone else could be making use of it. Drop it off at a charity or sell it on eBay!

Quick Facts:
50% of the textiles we throw away are recyclable. However, the proportion of textile wastes reused or recycled annually in the US is only around 20%. That means that approximately 80% of textiles head straight to the landfill! What can we do to reduce that?

Here are 3 Simple Tips for Greening your Closet

1) Keep your clothes ‘in the cycle’ by dropping them off at a local charity, thrift or consignment store or re-selling them on eBay. 80% of textiles end up in landfills. Lets try to reduce that! Note: If your clothes are brand-name, re-sell them on eBay. There is a HUGE market for slightly worn brand name items.

2) Turn old garments into new garments. That is if you have a designer-creative side in you, cut them up and re-sew. Be creative. In fact Greenloop recently had such a contest the ‘re-shirting’ contest to see who could make the coolest shirt out of an old shirt (without adding any new fabric!). Contest ended May 23.

3) If the clothes are really old and ratty, cut them up and use them as rags.

What do you do to stay green and recycle your textiles? Tell us your favorite vintage, consignment or clothing recycle story.

Biomimetic Waterproofing: Finisterre is Hot

UK company Finisterre, who got their roots in high technical surf gear is now breaking new ground with their tremendously innovative waterproofing gear. As a deviation from the Buffalo clothing concept from Patagonia, this new technology uses a combination of fibers piles in a hydro carbon coupled with a high density fiber that mimics body dynamics (to allow for breathability) – much like animal fur. As you sweat, moisture droplets are collected in the face of the fabric. The fabric is designed in such as way that the more you sweat, and the harder you work, the farther away the moisture droplets get from your body. The current system is designed by Nikwax Analogy.

This company is definitely worth checking out.

clipped from www.treehugger.com

Finisterre-combo.jpg

The news is that they aren’t manufacturing in China any more, have introduced beeswax impregnated poly-cotton fabrics, garments of traceable merino wool, and embraced recycled polyester fabrics, whilst simultaneously dropping laminated waterproofs in favour of what they see as a biomimetric alternative. No, not the much vaunted lotus leaf fabric, instead they take their cue from animal fur. After the fold we chew the fat in an extended interview with the guys from Finisterre as they explain in detail just how this all works.
Buffalo uses a fiber pile worn next to the body – a combination of capillary action and thermodynamics keep the wearer warm and relatively dry when working hard.
Biomimetic waterproofs use a fiber pile worn away from the body and then waterproofed [we think they mean water resistant] in a hydrocarbon d.w.r [durable water repellent]. The result is very similar to animal fur and its performance revolves around two points.

blog it

From Finisterre

Biomimicry

Moving closer to our ambitions is a gradual process and in order that we maintain our focus, every single one of our garments is designed under a number of initiatives. Throughout the product descriptions over the next few pages, you’ll see where each initiative, via its motif, has been applied to which product.

Biomimicry – The imitation of systems present in the natural environment and the application of their design to man-made products.

Natural Advantage – Solutions built by nature.

Reclaim, Reprocess, Reuse – A multi option recycling programme relating to what happens to the garments after their life.

Eco-circle – The world’s first closed loop polyester recycling scheme.

Horizons – From manufacturing ethics to sustainable development, this focuses on building transparency in our practises and those we work with. In the current range, this is divided between the Storm Track and Humboldt, both made as part of a rehabilitation scheme run by nuns in Colombia. The remainder of the products are made in the EU (Portugal) in a facility that has the top ISO accreditations. As well as this, we also aim to keep everything we do here as local as possible.

ZQUE – Worlds first traceable chain that combines Merino with an accreditation programme that ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability, animal welfare and traceability.

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