It's Giving... Reduce and Reuse: Secondhand Clothing Is Trendier and More Sustainable Than Ever (Exclusive)

"Sustainable shopping has become more readily accessible in recent years," says Chloe Baffert, Head of Merchandising and Curation at Poshmark.

Anna Garrison - Author

Apr. 24 2024, Published 1:00 p.m. ET

Benefits of secondhand clothing with Poshmark
Source: Green Lovers Composite: Poshmark

Whether you're bored with your tried-and-true wardrobe options or recently did some spring cleaning, it's no secret that secondhand shopping or thrifting has become the forefront of sustainability in many people's daily lives. Especially in light of the way overconsumption and fast fashion have taken over the fashion industry, people are looking to make big changes for the environment.

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For Earth Day 2024, Green Lovers spoke exclusively via email to Chloe Baffert, Head of Merchandising and Curation at Poshmark, and Maria Jones, a popular seller on Poshmark (@thelemontheory), to discuss the popularity of sustainable fashion, some of the benefits of secondhand clothing, and how consumers are being more thoughtful about what they wear.

Read on for our exclusive Q&As with both Baffert and Jones!

These interviews have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Person holding folded sustainable sweaters.
Source: Courtesy of Poshmark
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Chloe Baffert details the benefits of secondhand shopping and trends in sustainable clothing.

GREEN MATTERS: What are the environmental benefits of shopping secondhand that are most important to you personally?

CHLOE BAFFERT: Secondhand shopping keeps an item out of landfills and preserves the resources and labor required to make a new item. With resale, shoppers are not contributing to the production of a new item while keeping a garment in circulation and giving it a new life.

Secondhand shopping allows consumers to purchase quality items at a lower price point. Shoppers can also find unique, one-of-a-kind items! Whether it's a pair of designer shoes from a past season, a funky handbag, or a statement jacket, shoppers can find pieces that can help their style stand out.

GM: Could you touch on which sustainable brands Poshmark is partnering with and why they were chosen?

CB: We identified brands who perform well on Poshmark’s platform – who care deeply about sustainability and design products made with environmentally-conscious materials and natural fibers, but are also beloved by our shoppers, such as Pact, Christy Dawn, Cleobella, and Rothy's.

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Photograph of cardboard box going into the mail with Poshmark sticker.
Source: Courtesy of Poshmark

GM: Do you have any data available on what customers are looking for in their sustainable brands?

CB: Shoppers on Poshmark’s platform are increasingly shopping for sustainable items – orders for listings including the word “sustainable” in the description are up 188 percent over the past two years.

Shoppers are also seeking items made of natural materials, with searches for listings containing the phrases "organic cotton" and "100% wool" up by 102 percent and 69 percent respectively over the past two years.

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GM: Why do you think consumers have an increased interest in sustainable clothing?

CB: Consumers are fatigued from the pressure to jump on every trending aesthetic that comes onto the scene, and are prioritizing quality over quantity. They would rather pay $70 for a T-shirt that will stand the test of time, than $10 for a T-shirt that won’t make it through their washer's spin cycle.

At the same time, sustainable shopping has become more readily accessible in recent years. Quality materials like cashmere used to signify a higher price point, but with more and more value driven sustainable options between the secondhand market and price conscious sustainable brands, consumers no longer have to sacrifice organic cotton to polyester and resort to fast fashion.

Young woman takes a photograph of a black sweater on a hanger.
Source: Courtesy of Poshmark
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Maria Jones divulges her thrifting secrets.

GREEN MATTERS: How did you first become interested in sustainable/secondhand fashion?

MARIA JONES: I have been interested in secondhand fashion ever since I was little. I grew up going to thrift stores and always loved finding quality items that actually fit me. I’m a tall girl so trying to find pants that were long enough was a nightmare but thrifting made it possible since I had access to brands I normally couldn’t afford.

GM: In your opinion, what are the best items to thrift and why?

MJ: Aside from known brands and current styles, I try to shop based on quality. Sustainable brands have that quality you can feel. Sustainable brands are making clothes that will last and you can just feel it. Whether they are using linen, cotton or even blends, the fabric is always superior to what you will find in a fast fashion garment.

This article is part of Green Lovers’ 2024 Earth Day programming, It's Giving... Earth Day: A series about the people and organizations who are “giving” Earth Day 24/7. We hope these stories inspire you to embody the spirit of Earth Day all year round.

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