FASHION: Save Money and the Earth by Shopping Second Hand, by Renia Pruchnicki

There used to be a time in my life where I wouldn’t be caught dead in a second hand store. Growing up in a medium sized town, it simply never occurred to me that shopping second hand was a cool way of helping the environment.

Fast-forward to 2016 and I can’t think of a better place to buy clothes.

My love affair started with a second hand clothing store called The Kind Exchange. There are a few locations in Toronto, where I live. They will actually pay you for clothing that you drop off. Payment can be either in cash or in a store credit.

But, they are selective. With workers who eye a sharp eye for style, they carefully go through your donation and say “yay” or “nay” to each piece. The ones that didn’t make the cut can still be donated; you just don’t get paid for those.

What I liked most about shopping at the Kind Exchange (or any second-hand store for that matter) is that you get all kinds of clothes. You can find styles from the 80’s onward. You can get clothes from different parts of the world (you never know who will donate). It’s like finding a treasure!

I then phased to Value Village. My favorite way of shopping here is by going to a location outside of big cities. Because my parents live in Kitchener, Ontario, I made a habit of stopping into some of the Value Villages there. Wow! What a difference from the locations in Toronto! The stores were huge and everything neatly organized.

I always arrange it so I can go on a weekday, when the store is almost empty. You can tell which items are practically brand new. By shopping second-hand, I save money, and it gives Mother Nature a break compared with the environmental cost of producing new items of clothing.

Some of the most exquisite pieces of clothing I have are ones I have found in a Value Village. I can’t tell you how many times I have been complimented on such items. And to think they are usually all under $10.00!

If you have patience to sift through the pieces and time to wash everything when you get home, I highly recommend this form of eco-fashion.

Next time you are about to judge someone for shopping second hand, think again. Shopping second hand is very eco, and very cool.

Renia headshot
Renia Pruchnicki
is the owner of a company called Truth where she designs a line of vegan fashion accessories made in Canada. Truth was created in 2001.

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