Vintage Value

Buying vintage is as sustainable as it gets with clothes on. Here are some of the world's best vintage stores and online resellers to explore this Sustainable September.

Diana d'Arenberg wearing her own vintage YSL. Photo by Olivier Yoan for Prestige Magazine, Hong Kong.

Fashion is big business. But while it can make us look and feel good this US$1.78 trillion industry comes at a huge environmental cost.

Did you know that the fashion industry is the second most polluting and wasteful industry on the planet, after oil? In fact, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. On top of that, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UNEP, textile production accounts for the use of around 93 billion cubic metres of water annually for the production of some 100 billion pieces of year. To put it in perspective, that's enough water to meet the consumption needs of five million people.

According to the UNECE 85% of all textiles produced —about 21 billion tonnes a year—are sent to the landfill every year! That's a shocking figure, right? Clothing production has roughly doubled since 2000, so that the average consumer nowadays buys 60% more items of clothing compared to 20 years ago. However, each garment is kept only half as long—usually disposed of in under a year—and 40% of clothes in our wardrobe are never worn at all. Think back to your parents' fashion consumption habits, and it's likely quite a contrast to yours. They would probably have bought a good quality winter coat and kept it for years, wearing it winter after winter. Today, with the fast rotation of production line seasonal collections from many fast fashion brands— some produce over 20 collections a year— and the pressure to keep up with trends, it's likely you have much more clothing than you actually need, or will ever wear.

About 21 billion tonnes of textiles are sent to the landfill every year!

The current fashion system is incredibly unsustainable, and it's costing the earth. Throwaway fashion culture is depleting natural resources and overfilling landfills. We all contribute to this—after all, we all wear clothes—but we also have the power as consumers to change it. As awareness grows about the impact of fashion on the planet and of sustainability, attitudes towards fashion are beginning to change, with scrutiny and pressure building on fast fashion brands to take responsibility for their wasteful—and exploitative