I recently had a clear-out. One morning last week I woke up, opened my bulging wardrobe and declared enough was enough.
After two years of lockdowns (during which I lived in running leggings, a hoodie and a rain mac) most of the clothes I’d owned in my previous life felt redundant. There were blouses I used to wear to work in offices, dresses I’d worn on nights out in 2014, and high heeled shoes I’d long given up on after realising flats are the only acceptable form of footwear some time in 2010.
I pulled it all out. Every garment and thread was scrutinised, held up to the light and placed in one of three piles: keep, donate, sell.
In trawling through my wardrobe, a decade of overbuying clothes stared right back at me. There were clothes with tags on, dresses I’d worn once, outfits I’d bought for weddings and parties before deciding I didn’t like them anymore. It was my day of reckoning. I’d bought too much, spent too much, and hoarded too much.
Fast fashion and online clothing brands grew up in tandem with people my age. I was almost 10 years old when Asos was founded in 2000. As my peers and I headed to high school to work towards our future careers, the e-commerce geniuses were hard at work developing the sites where we’d all spend our future wages.
They got me good and proper. I loved the slick websites, the targeted ads, the ease of next-day delivery.
But technology evolves, and now it has delivered a new era in fashion, with resell sites like Vinted, Loopster and Depop booming over recent years – an ethical solution to our fast fashion problem. Manchester-based fast fashion retailer Missguided, meanwhile, has collapsed.
With my to-sell pile in front of me, I downloaded the Vinted app and listed my old, neglected clothes for sale.
While I waited for potential buyers to bite, I browsed through other sellers’ items. It felt like delving into strangers’ wardrobes – a magical world of new outfits and accessories for a fraction of their retail price.
Since then, I’ve sent parcels to Glasgow, Llandudno and Bristol. Clothes I haven’t worn for years may well be out there right now, walking down high streets and drinking in pubs, getting a new lease of life.
I am converted. No, wait. I am obsessed. I’m on the verge of selling my whole wardrobe this summer and replacing it all with pre-loved and second-hand garms.
Buying second-hand has traditionally involved spending hours trawling through charity shops and vintage stores. Now, the same technology that gave us harmful, planet-crushing fast fashion has found a way to halt the demand for newly manufactured products while preventing old clothes from going into landfill. It’s a win-win.
In the past few days, Asos has bombarded me with messages reminding me to renew my premier delivery, encouraging me to spend £9.95 to secure unlimited free next day delivery for the next year. But so far its pleas have been unanswered.
Instead, I’m trawling through Vinted, turning other people’s trash into my treasure.