Second Hand Clothes: the myths and truths

We’ve all heard this before from our very basic Gozitan moms: second hand clothes are worn out and dirty and people will talk if you wear second hand clothes don’t tell people you wear second hand clothes etc etc etc. The ranting could go on for hours. In this blog post, I intend to fully discredit this old-fashioned way of thinking. (yes, that was a pun!)

Second hand clothes do not necessarily mean worn out and dirty clothes. Second hand clothes are not disgusting because other people wore them before you. Hello, we live in the 21st century and we have washing machines. What did people pre-Industrial Revolution do?

The reality is that the need to buy new clothes is a reaction to all previous periods of time in which civilizations did not have an excess in clothes and the general concept was to take care of the few garments people actually had. In today’s age, we have a world order which allows us to have whatever we want whenever we want it in whatever color, shape or design. We live in a selfish world. And what is the result of this selfish world? Waste.

The amount of waste created because of the fashion industry is ridiculous. I dare you to google how many pounds or kilos of clothes are thrown away per person every year. You’d be shocked. Our landfills are full of unwanted clothes. Just because you don’t like a piece of clothing anymore doesn’t mean you should just throw it away! If the mentality towards second hand clothes changed, we would be contributing to an environmental crisis by reducing the amount of wastage that currently exists. But simply buying second hand clothes isn’t enough. For there to be drastic change, we need to stop buying clothes from mega companies that produce clothes in mass in the most unsustainable way. Let me introduce you to the phrase fast fashion.

We are in charge of our industries because we are consumers who are constantly buying clothes. You’re probably thinking that your $40 pair of jeans won’t make a big difference but it does. Whatever the price, you are investing your money therefore why not be informed what you are investing your money in? For you, the result may be obtaining a pair of jeans but for the environment, you’re contributing to the industry that will simply use your money to keep producing unsustainable clothing. And what will you do with those jeans? Probably throw them away after a year out of boredom. Fashion has become all about the current trends and the second it changes, you’ll go buy another pair of jeans. What the world needs is conscious consumers. It’s in the word itself: consumption. We consume clothes and we take such a simple item for granted.

Watch to learn more: The true cost of fast fashion | The Economist – YouTube

Apart from excessive tons of clothes in our landfills, the environmental crisis goes even beyond that. A simple example is the chemicals needed to dye clothes which end up polluting our water systems. The ethical concerns tied to the fashion industry are also important to mention. Most Western fashion companies have their factories located in countries which have loose labor laws leading to poor wages, unsafe work environments and even the production leading workers towards getting illnesses.

Read: The Health Repercussions of Bangladesh’s Hazaribagh Leather | HRW

Second hand clothes aren’t so bad now, are they? Buying second hand clothes is recycling! And you can definitely upgrade your wardrobe with a few snazzy vintage clothes instead of a mainstream top from Forever 21. In Malta, second hand clothing has become a thriving business. There are plenty of Instagram businesses where you can either invest old clothes you simply don’t want anymore or buy! Here’s a few to mention:

The WORNspace. (@thewornspace) • Instagram photos and videos

Tal-Monti Thrifting (@tal_monti_thrifting) • Instagram photos and videos

2nd Chance (@2ndchancemalta) • Instagram photos and videos

Vintage Clothing (@thrifties.mlt) • Instagram photos and videos

Golden Lion Vintage (@goldenlionvintage) • Instagram photos and videos

The only (probably) second hand clothing store in Malta is Vogue Xchange located in Gozo with an eye for aesthetics and plenty of hidden treasures! I highly recommend. VogueXchange (@vogue__x__) • Instagram photos and videos

However, if you want to broaden your horizons, Depop is your best bet. Depop is the Instagram for second hand clothing. That’s not a joke. Although the prices are slightly high, you’ll find all sorts of second hand clothes on Depop ranging from vintage to grunge and 60s to early 2000s. Just check out these stores for example:

For more information on the fashion revolution, follow it!

Fashion Revolution (@fash_rev) • Instagram photos and videos

Fashion Revolution UM (@fashrev_um) • Instagram photos and videos

One response to “Second Hand Clothes: the myths and truths”

  1. Great article Corrine, thank you for the mention. I’m pleased to see so much new activity happening around second hand and vintage clothing in the last year or so.


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