How resale platforms are shaping the world of sustainable fashion

Here at Altar, sustainability has always been at the forefront of our mission to produce accessible and beautiful fashion. From prioritizing deadstock fabric, to using recyclable shipping materials, and even offering free repairs to ensure our clothing never ends up in the trash, we are constantly evolving every facet of our business practices to make sure that we are reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible. One of the most important aspects of sustainability for slow fashion brands is creating circularity in the lifespan of our garments. 

Fashion Waste Statistics

It's no secret that the fashion industry is a huge contributor to the negative effects we've observed in our environment. In fact, the fashion industry (including apparel and footwear) accounts for 8.1% of the world's green house gas emissions. Unfortunately, the majority of these garments will eventually end up in a landfill, which means that the fashion industry is creating 3,990 million metric tons of CO2E a year for clothing that ends up in the trash. According to a startling McKinsey 2016 report, "for every 5 garments produced, the equivalent of 3 will end up in a landfill or incinerated every year."

As consumers become increasingly more aware of the significant ecological impact of their fashion choices, many are turning to online resale sites as an environmental and affordable alternative to shopping their favorite brands.

The Impact of Resale

These virtual thrift stores and peer-to-peer marketplaces like Depop, Ebay, and Poshmark have created online platforms where people can buy designer and trendy clothing secondhand from curated sellers, extending the lifespan of those garments and keeping them out of landfills. However, even though these popular resale sites support a circulatory lifespan for clothing, they don't prevent fast fashion from being produced in the first place, and they arguably still contribute to influencing consumers to make purchasing decision based on hype and trends which sustains a market for the fast fashion labels that are producing the trendy clothing in question. On the plus side, we know that resale sites are starting to impact fast fashion where it hurts most; their wallets. According to the ThredUp Report, the $29 billion secondhand apparel market will double by 2023, and is on track to outpace major fast fashion retailers within the next decade. It's encouraging to know that resale, even when it is happening with fast fashion brands, is still damaging fast fashion business while having positive impacts on the environment.

Slow Fashion and Resale

While some slow fashion cult favorites can be found on these platforms, the offerings are limited and the platforms themselves don't promote slow fashion and independent manufacturers the same way that they boost designer brands. Even while doing research for this post, I couldn't find any resale sites that specifically carry slow fashion brands. Some popular (and much larger) brands like Madewell are still common on these platforms, but smaller, independent designers only have several listings if they can be found on these platforms at all.

It does appear that the popularity of slow fashion brands is growing steadily as fashion lovers become more and more concerned with the environmental impacts of the fashion industry. My hope is that as more eco-conscious fashionistas buy slow fashion directly from sustainable brands, the more of these garments will eventually find their way to resale platforms and open up a marketplace to make slow fashion more accessible and affordable.

Our Treet Partnership

Getting involved in the resale movement ourselves is something we've been talking about for a long time, so we were so excited when a new start-up called Treet reached out to us and invited us to be one of the selected brands that they launched their resale site with.

It's so important to us that where we choose to have our clothing re-sold cares just as much about the environment as we do, and Treet is committed to partnering exclusively with slow fashion brands who put sustainablility at the forefront of their manufacturing practices from the start. It not only gives us a great platform to offer our seasonal seconds, clearance, and imperfect items at steep discounts, but it also offers a transparent way to ensure the clothing we produce has a circulatory lifespan. It also allows us to see people who have already purchased our clothing participating in that as well which is so special.

This Earth Day, we are celebrating circulatory fashion and the fundamental role it plays in the sustainable fashion movement. Join us by taking 10% off sitewide on Altar Pre-loved through Treet all weekend long 4/22-4/25 with code EARTHDAY10 at checkout. We will be splitting the discount cost with Treet so sellers will still receive their full payout which means it's a great time to list your pre-loved Altar garments if you haven't already!