A complete guide to second-hand fashion

Besma Whayeb ·

Yanin Namasonthi, Amelia Taylor, and Jourdan Riane in second-hand fashion



As we’re all becoming more and more conscious about the impact we have on the planet, what better time to start shopping second-hand? Second-hand fashion prevents perfectly good clothes from going to landfill by giving them a new lease of life with another owner. 


What Is Second-Hand Fashion?

Second-hand fashion consists of any clothing that has previously been owned by another person. It’s worth noting that second-hand doesn’t necessarily mean pre-worn, you can get many second-hand products brand new at a discounted price!

Second-hand clothes can be sold directly by their original owners, sold through platforms such as Reliked, or donated to charity.


Is Buying Second-Hand Fashion Sustainable?

Second-hand fashion is more sustainable than buying new clothes because it reduces the demand for new materials and energy, as well as reducing the amount of clothing going to landfill. According to
Oxfam, every week 13 million items of clothing end up in UK landfill, so shopping second-hand can help to reduce this figure!

The fashion industry is a notoriously dirty industry, using unsustainable practices and exploiting garment workers. Just this year, many high street fashion brands stopped paying for their orders due to covid-19, causing garment workers to lose their jobs and fall into poverty.

By purchasing second-hand clothing, you can avoid supporting these practices, as well as encourage a more circular economy. Shopping second-hand is also an easy way to support charity too.


What Happens To Second-Hand Clothes?

The future of second-hand clothes is very much dependent on the quality of the clothing. For good quality second-hand clothes, they can be:

  • Sold on to be worn again
  • Swapped with friends or family
  • Donated to charity to be sold

However, this is only a small percentage of all clothing. According to the BBC, as little as 10% of donated clothes are actually sold through charity shops.

The rest is sold to textile recycling warehouses who then sort the clothes and send them on to countries in Central America, Africa and Asia.

So, the more we can enjoy shopping for second-hand clothes, the better!

How To Shop Second-Hand Fashion

Finding perfect fitting, good quality second-hand clothes can seem difficult - especially if you're looking for a particular style or item. However, there's no better feeling than when you find the perfect piece for your wardrobe, at a good price and in excellent condition!

It's one of the reasons why we started Reliked. We work with hundreds of leading fashion influencers so we can pick and choose beautiful pre-loved pieces from their wardrobes and display them here for you to discover and shop!

There's so many benefits to shopping second-hand, including:

  • Saving money – items are cheaper than their full price
  • Finding your unique style – clothes and accessories are one-off pieces
  • Reducing your environmental impact
  • Supporting charity – find out more about our charities

Tips for shopping second-hand

Here at Reliked, we can’t get enough of second-hand fashion! We’ve put together some of our top tips for getting the most out of second-hand fashion:

  1. Start by finding your style inspiration. I get mine from blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, and magazines.
  2. Decide on your favourite pieces, designers, or brands. Personally, I like quite minimal style, so I search for brands like APC, Reiss, & Other Stories.
  3. Search regularly, as new stock is uploaded all the time.
  4. Consider the materials (natural materials like cotton, linen, and wool are often better quality and will hold their shape and colour for longer).
  5. When your new-to-you clothes arrive, try them on and play around with the fit. Does it need a belt? Be open to accessorising and making alterations.

If you want more inspiration, check out our guide to the best places to buy second-hand fashion, and if you're looking for dresses, our guide to second-hand dresses!

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