Secondhand September may be coming to a close but according to a report from eBay UK the sustainable habit of shopping pre-worn clothes, which was nourished during the pandemic, is going nowhere. The retailer announced that the equivalent weight of 1,404 double decker buses of fashion items were saved from landfill so far this year thanks to secondhand sales. That’s 28 million pre-loved fashion items that have gone to a new home. This time last year FashionUnited reported that the equivalent weight of 900 double-decker buses had been saved from landfill, so that’s an additional 500 buses stuffed with clothes. So far in 2021, 17,771 tons of clothing have been saved from landfill as a result of eBay sales, while since 2018 sales of pre-loved items are up 29%.
Further data from eBay UK indicates a permanent shift towards thrift has occurred as the pandemic continues to drive more conscious shopping behavior. Over four second-hand items have been sold every second so far in 2021, and during the UK’s lockdown earlier in the year, there was a 32 percent increase in secondhand sales as thrifty Brits looked to declutter and make some extra cash.
eBay’s mission of encouraging consumers to continue buying and selling secondhand items, thereby keeping fashion items in circulation and helping tackle the whopping 336,000 tons of clothing sent to landfill every year in the UK, included lending its support for the second year to Oxfam’s Second Hand September initiative. Oxfam is an international charity based in the UK and eBay pledged to match all items sold for Oxfam on its marketplace pound for pound sterling. Oxfam’s Secondhand September encourages shoppers to buy and sell only second-hand for 30 days or more and the money raised goes to Oxfam’s work beating poverty around the world.
eBay UK consumers clear closets for a clear conscience
With the new season upon us, and New York Fashion Week just concluded, there’s no better time to relook at our closets, help items find new homes by donating in order to make space for those new fall essentials, which are now also more likely to be thrifted. Buying new doesn’t have quite the cachet it once had, and canny everyday stylists can easily recreate this season’s runway looks with yesterday’s pre-loved items.
Emma Grant, Head of Preloved at eBay UK says: “It’s fantastic to see conscious shopping getting more mainstream and sustainable purchasing habits stretching beyond the pandemic, proving that pre-loved is more than just a trend. With the market for second hand sales continuing to grow, this year we’ve managed to save even more items from landfill by finding them new homes and extending their lifecycle.”
The 2021 return of Juicy Couture
The report also highlights key themes that illustrate shopping trends. Nostalgia led the way as shoppers found comfort in the styles of the nineties and noughties. Searches for sweater vests jumped 888 percent and searches for Juicy Couture tracksuits were up 200 percent. It makes sense that we looked back to the era when Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Paris Hilton made wearing sweatpants de rigeur, the LA-based velour leisurewear brand becoming ubiquitous at the turn of the millennium as its logo-emblazoned trackpants adorned the butts of it-girls globally. 2021 made sweatpants our go-to once again, and consumers were ready to emulate the style of these noughties icons while staying at home.
Among the most popular brands to buy and sell secondhand on eBay UK in 2021 were Nike, Adidas and Zara, and the most popular items to sell secondhand on eBay continues to be tops and shirts, perhaps unsurprising as people work at least partly from home or have incorporated zoom video calls into their everyday working lives.
Images from eBay UK
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry