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The stigma of swapping and secondhand

01.09.2021 | By Hope Titley

As we’re sure you’re all aware, we think swapping is great. We would swap literally everything if we could, but that doesn’t hide the fact that a lot of the time, swapping clothes and buying second-hand has a massive stigma attached to it.

This stigma is steadily changing, primarily thanks to GenZ and Millennials being at the forefront of wanting environmental fashion and the resurgence of Vintage style. Whether it’s wanting to stay on top of trends by buying everything from fast fashion labels, or the (incorrect) view that secondhand clothing is outdated and unclean, we are here to help assuage your concerns and show you that swapping is for everyone. Promise.

It’s unclean.

I’m sure you’ve heard, “Someone’s probably died in that!”. While it’s usually made in jest, it plays into the continuing stigma that secondhand and swapping clothing is dirty and undesirable. In reality, items will often come straight from someone’s wardrobe, freshly cleaned when swapping. In secondhand shops, clothes will often be washed or steamed to refresh them or remove any dirt. Either way, there’s no reason you can’t wash them as soon as you get home!

It’s about image.

In this social media-driven society, image has become everything. Staying on top of the latest fashion and having the next big thing to show off has become so important that the idea of going against the mainstream has some people running for the hills. Swapping your clothes is one of the most accessible ways to consume fashion sustainably by utilising what’s already available. With the changing tide towards sustainability, you might just end up ahead of the curve! Whilst swapping is steadily making its way to the forefront, there is still an air of confusion around it, but sometimes all it takes is that step to try!

It’s not on-trend.

When trends are determined by big fashion labels that seem to churn them out at a speed that’s hard to keep up with, swapping and buying secondhand doesn’t seem like a viable option if you want to stay on top of it all. But the reality is with the increasing popularity of thrifting and platforms like Depop; second-hand is becoming the next big thing. Trends come and go but finding a second-hand piece you love and will wear repeatedly? That’s forever.

It’s poor quality.

We often think that for something to last for us, it needs to be bought new and therefore has the most wearability in it, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Take a vintage leather jacket from the 90s versus the one you were eyeing up in Zara the other week. The truth is that the Zara one wasn’t made to last, forcing you to buy a new one when it inevitably wears out. The vintage one? It’s already stood the test of time and still looks great, plus it will already be worn in and comfortable to wear. We know which we’d rather choose.

Have you struggled with the stigma around preloved clothing, or did you dive headfirst into swapping? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so let us know below!