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Last Sunday was National Second-Hand Wardrobe Day, and I love that this day exists.

Aside from the fact that I’ve been rocking second-hand finds since middle school, there couldn’t be a better time to recognize the value of wearing previously-loved items.

As of 2017, 1 in 5 North Americans are reportedly shopping resale clothing regularly. That number is skyrocketing year over year, and it’s nothing compared to the rest of the world, where about 80% of the global population regularly utilizes secondhand goods. (source)

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Secondhand clothing is predicted to grow even larger than fast-fashion in 10 years, and in my opinion? That’s incredible for consumers and the planet.

Wasteful habits may be on the rise in modern society, but upcycling, resale, and second-hand clothing shopping is growing at an exponential rate. Just check out this incredible 2019 resale report by Thredup.

Inspiring stuff, right?

I was thinking about the second-hand shopping phenomenon a lot while vacationing with family this month. While my little blog is just one corner of the internet, I’ve been feeling increasingly passionate about using it to promote the second-hand movement to my fellow fashion lovers…

See, I do a lot of vintage and second-hand shopping, especially on Etsy. Did you know they offset carbon emissions for every order placed on the site? I don’t always make time to share those finds, but I’m going to start.

In honor of this lovely summer of 2019, I’m kicking it off with this rad vintage lifeguard tank top. I bought it from an Etsy shop called The Beard And Lady. They specialize in cool vintage tees and retro denim.

On the last day of vacay, I took it for a test drive on the boardwalk at Hammonasset Beach. Yep, I’m obsessed!

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This post is about more than just showing off a cool tank top, though.

I’m hoping to hop on my soapbox for a second to talk about consumption choices and how we fill our closets.

You probably know by now that the fashion industry is a pretty big offender when it comes to exploiting natural resources and human labor.

As alarming news about our climate and our planet continuously rolls in, we’re presented with a chance to create change with habits we may have previously taken for granted. This includes the clothes we buy and the brands we support through those purchases.

I’ve come a long way in my shopping habits in the past 6 months. I’m far from perfect, obviously, and I haven’t shifted to 100% second-hand in my own wardrobe. I do make a conscious effort to find used items before I buy new ones, though.

I also patronize smaller local businesses, turning to retail giants only when I have to. But I can do better. We all can!

I truly believe that every person’s actions make a difference when it comes to an entire society “voting” with their dollars, creating demand around common goals.

Everything you do has an impact, one way or another. If you’ve been left feeling hopeless—or worse, apathetic—in the wake of commentary about humanity being past the tipping point, reel it back in. Set aside that dark thought.

Small shifts implemented by a large group of people can create immediate change.

Waves of positive change will become inevitable if we take back our power and take action, whether that’s actively changing up our consumption habits or donating money to organizations who are on the front lines of eco-preservation.

One way clothing and fashion lovers (like you and I) can make a difference? Supporting the revolution of second-hand.

We can lessen the fashion industry’s impact on the planet over time by rejecting the idea that we need a new wardrobe every month.

After all, it’s an industry that functions, shifts, and evolves according to consumer demand. More than ever, brands are taking note of consumer habits and shifting their business models accordingly.

That means we do have the power.

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And hey—it won’t be so bad, this shopping second-hand stuff! Did you know that most of the “new trends” you spot online can be found in the archives of vintage on Etsy and eBay? I’m not exaggerating when I say you can find literally anything you’re into. It’s all been done before.

Second-hand shopping sites and boutiques are crawling with unique, one-of-a-kind items that will spice up your wardrobe.

Once you start shopping around, you’ll find that vintage clothing is often better-constructed, made with more durable materials (seriously, how are all of those 90s tees still so vibrantly printed?), and more fun to wear!

There are many ways to engage in this “revolution”, and the result will be a happier planet, a happier bank account (you’ll shop less and spend less), and a positive cycle of clothing karma (which you can read all about here, if you’re curious: Clothing Karma: 5 Undeniably Good Reasons to Buy Vintage Clothes).

I’m an optimist, and some people scoff at me when I talk about this stuff. But I believe with every fiber of my being that individuals taking action can create substantial and life-altering change for all.

So… do you want to be a part of the second-hand shopping revolution?

What’s one small change you’re committing to as summer ends?

Leave a comment below or come let me know on IG.

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Written by Mishka
Michelle Christina (a.k.a. Mishka) founded heymishka.com in 2008, and has since documented her love of DIY, thrift-shopping, and creative living here. Fueled by strong coffee and sparkly dreams, MC also mentors freelance writers at Freelance Writing Cafe, hosts the Sugar x Spice Market in Brooklyn, and writes digital marketing copy for some of the world's biggest brands.