Worries about our planet’s changing climate have brought about great interest in living more sustainably. A simple way to reduce waste is to ditch fast fashion and partake in the secondhand market. This can include consigning your old clothes and shopping at thrift stores, or even using the growing number of secondhand apps.
The fashion industry produces tons of waste, with Americans alone throwing out 26 billion pounds of clothing every year. Much of it is made out of synthetic fibers, which take over 200 years to break down. So, consigning and thrifting are clearly where it’s at.
To help the transition, Heather Reid, owner of Trilogy Consignment, shares her best tips for secondhand newbies. With store locations in Nyack and Tarrytown, and having passionately shopped secondhand herself since she was eight, Heather knows her stuff.
“I can say with confidence that a secondhand shop, whether it is a thrift shop or a consignment store, is generally going to offer a much more pleasant, wholesome, uplifting, joyful shopping experience than any department store, Reid said. “Plus, you can find amazing quality that just isn’t offered in new shops anymore, even most high-end ones. The thrill of finding that fabulous piece that suits you perfectly, that feels like it was made for you, like it has been waiting for you, is simply beyond words.”
Without further ado, here are Heather’s expert sustainable fashion tips.
Pay Attention to the Materials
“There are so many amazing treasures out there, so try your best to educate yourself on materials! Check the label and see what it says. Natural materials like silk, cotton, linen, cashmere, wool, and leather are going to wear better and last longer than synthetics. Vintage rayon is an amazing material that is plant-based, but processed enough to be considered mostly synthetic. It wears beautifully and feels amazing — the only downside is that most of the time, it is NOT washable. If there is no label, compare the fabric by feel with something that is labeled.”
Freshen Up Your New Finds in the Dryer
“Washable or not, it is always safe to freshen up garments (except leather or suede) by putting them in the dryer (not wet!) with a washcloth soaked with water and a few dryer balls. Add some lavender essential oil to your dryer balls if you have it, and tumble on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Remove immediately. You’ll remove any dust from the fabric that will have accumulated while in the shop, and shake out wrinkles too!”
Check for Stains and Durability
“While in the shop, make sure you look closely for stains and test all zippers. Even tug gently on buttons to see if they’re secure. Check seams around arms and sides to see if there is damage. Hold sweaters stretched up to the light to check for holes. Learn to do basic sewing repairs so even if you discover damages, you can fix them!”
Know Your Decades — And What They Mean
“If there is a stamped “union made” label, the garment is from the ‘60s or ‘70s. If the label says “Made in Hong Kong,” it’s from the ‘90s. Materials were better made and more durable before the year 2000.”
Don’t Donate — Recycle!
“Research shows that the global donation market is unbelievably flooded with unwanted clothing, shoes, and handbags (primarily from the US, Canada, and Europe), so Trilogy Consignment has teamed up with Green Tree Recycling to help reduce the volume in our community and save items from landfills here and abroad. For more information on how to recycle your clothes, check out >consigntrilogy.com/recycle.”
5 S Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960
54 Main St, Tarrytown, NY 10591
Did you know?
- 80+% of all clothing ends up either incerated or in a landfill
- 10% of global carbon emissions come from the fashion industry each year
- 729,000: estimated number of plastic microfibers that acrylic garments release in 1 load of laundry
- The secondhand clothing market is projected to grow to double the size of fast fashion by 2029
Rebecca Kelehan is a freelance writer and content creator for Visit Nyack and ArtsRock. She also made two people and is their leader.