The fast fashion trend has swept the globe and we are buying and throwing away clothes at a rapid pace with a steep environmental cost. Buying preloved clothes online or in secondhand clothes stores is one great way to engage with a circular, sustainable fashion sector.
Fortunately, the growth of the secondhand clothing market helps towards countering fast fashion’s unsustainable clothing practices.
The preloved clothing sector is growing. Thrifting is becoming trendy as we realise that not only is it a great way to improve our environmental impact, but you can also score some unique pieces in the secondhand clothes market. Some reports estimate that the secondhand clothing market may overtake the fast fashion sector by 2030.
Pros and Cons of buying preloved online
Like with any fashion sector, there are of course advantages and disadvantages to shopping preloved.
Environmentally Friendly – As secondhand clothes already exist, buying preloved items has a lower environmental impact than buying virgin clothing. It also saves products from wasting in landfills.
Unique pieces – As preloved platforms often have styles from a range of sources, their collections are unique and you can score some great clothing pieces.
Cheaper – In most cases, buying preloved is cheaper than buying new. Shopping preloved helps save the planet and your bank balance!
Quality can be questionable – This largely depends on the platform you are using. However private seller-to-buyer platforms come with the risk of sellers being less than honest about a product’s quality.
It may not last as long – Preloved clothing has been used, and as such, may not last as long as its brand new alternative.
You can’t try on – Buying online means that you can’t try on the clothes before you buy them. Buying brands you already know can help, or asking sellers detailed questions about their measurements and how the clothes fit them.
Companies Selling Preloved Clothes Online
When searching for second-hand styles, these are some of the best pre-loved clothing platforms around.
Range: Men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing and accessories, footwear, and homewares
Fees: Buyer protection fee (3-8% of the sale price), buyer pays shipping with reduced price shipping options
Sustainability/ Ethical Credentials: Promotion of circular economy
Perhaps one of the most well known preloved clothing platforms, Vinted has something for everyone. The platform is available both online and in a phone app format. It hosts big name brands, high street stores, luxury items, and even the odd handmade treasure.
Although it doesn’t have extra sustainability credentials, it does provide a way for eco-conscious consumers to engage with the preloved, circular clothing market easily and practically.
Range: Men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing, footwear, and homewares
Fees: No buyer/seller fees, shipping paid by buyer with one standard postage fee per order
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Supports global community development and social initiatives
With both storefronts and online platforms, Oxfam is more than just a secondhand clothes store. The Oxfam pre-loved market helps to support the Oxfam charity initiatives that work with disadvantaged communities around the world.
The organisation works as a middleman in the preloved sector. It collects donations from the community to resell. You can score some great finds at Oxfam with top designer names having been known to be found on the platform.
Range: Men’s and women’s clothing, jewellery, and accessories
Fees: 10% seller fee when an item is bought, shipping paid by buyer or seller dependant on seller preference
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Working towards climate neutrality
Depop is the home of on-trend pre-loved clothing. With a vibrant, youthful feel, Depop hosts second-hand styles from well-known labels such as Levi’s, Zara, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Nike.
Through its engagement with preloved fashion, Depop is helping to solve fashion’s waste crisis and saving valuable clothing from being thrown away.
Range: Men’s and women’s clothing
Fees: No buyer/seller fees, buyer pays shipping fee of £3.50
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Encourages engagement with circular fashion
Intending to give second-hand clothing a top quality online platform, ReTHREAD is making the preloved shopping experience simple. Through its easy-to-use platform for buying pre-loved clothes online, it facilitates a way to engage with circular fashion. ReTHREAD has everything from casual jumpsuits to formal dresses, chic accessories, and comfortable shoes on offer.
ReTHREAD doesn’t accept items from budget brands so you can be sure to find some quality items on the ReTHREAD marketplace. When an item is bought on the platform, the seller gets paid, simple as that!
Range: Men’s and women’s clothing, footwear, and accessories
Fees: Buyer pays shipping fee
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Negative carbon footprint
Specialising in the best vintage items, Beyond Retro has a large array of men’s and women’s clothing. Whether you are after a summer dress channelling the vibes of the 1960s, or some quality flared jeans, Beyond Retro is the place to go.
The organisation has a negative carbon footprint and uses a handy grading system so you can know what quality the items you are buying are in.
Range: Clothing, footwear, accessories, and much more
Fees: 35p listing fee (after 1000 listings) and 12.8% final value fee paid by seller, postage paid by buyer with shipping method chosen by seller
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Encourages buying from the preloved sector
One of the original second-hand selling platforms, eBay hosts almost anything you can think of. Clothing on eBay ranges in price and there are some real hidden gems on this platform.
As you buy directly from the item’s previous owner, there is the risk that a piece’s quality isn’t quite up to the standards you expected. However, eBay’s variety of products and often low prices make it a valuable marketplace for scoring a bargain.
Range: Men’s and women’s clothing, and accessories
Fees: 33% commission charged to the seller by the organisation on sale of items, standard shipping fee paid by the buyer (Normally £3.95)
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Charitable donations
Thrift+ works with the goal to ‘accelerate a circular fashion economy’. The brand hosts quality preloved styles from both high street stores and designer names. Buyers from Thrift+ have the added advantage of the platform checking clothing items listed for their quality.
With every purchase, the platform donates to a charity chosen by the seller, and with items available for as little as £5, Thrift+ is a great option for shopping preloved styles.
Range: Men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing, jewellery, and accessories
Fees: Fee paid by seller (sellers often earn up to 80% of the selling price), buyer pays postage
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: B-Corporation Certified
Vestiaire Collective holds the proud title of the world’s first resale company to earn B-Corp Certification. Buying preloved clothes online from Vestiaire comes with a peace of mind that is often absent in the preloved sector. The brand has a dedicated team of in-house experts to assess the quality of items and fight against counterfeiting.
With a wide range of high-quality styles available and an attitude of environmental responsibility, Vestiaire Collective is making a meaningful contribution to sustainable fashion.
Range: Second hand women’s clothes
Fees: Buyer pays pre-approved shipping fee
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Recycling and upcycling programs
Innovative organisation Refashion is bringing a blend of technology, sustainability, and preloved style to the fashion sector. You can find popular brands on the Refashion platform such as GAP, Zara, and Topshop.
Built on the pillars of reusing, recycling, and remaking, any items that can’t be resold are included in rag bags available to the creative community for upcycling projects. Any products that are not suitable for rag bags or sale, are recycled into materials for the clothing or construction industries.
The brand is also incorporating ‘Smart garments’ in which consumers can digitally track garment information such as the number of times it has been sold and its estimated resale value.
Range: Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories
Fees: No fees, buyer pays for shipping
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Promoting circular fashion, works with charity organisations
Partnered with a range of brands and charity shops, Haru sources some of the best preloved styles on offer throughout Ireland and the UK. Having created a simple online shopping experience, buying second-hand clothes from Haru is an easy process.
The organisation only sources high quality clothing and when purchasing from one of Haru’s charity suppliers, you support a local charity as well!
Range: Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories
Fees: No fees, buyer pays for shipping
Sustainability/Ethical Credentials: Biodegradable packaging, fair wages, circular fashion
Rokit has saved millions of tonnes of clothing from landfill. The London based brand has partnered with Trans-Continental Textile Recycling to source quality preloved clothing for resale to eco-conscious consumers.
With both vintage and modern styles, Rokit has some trendy pieces on offer. The organisation operates online and has stores across London.
Brands with Preloved Ranges
As well as purpose-built preloved clothing platforms, many eco-conscious labels offer branded second-hand clothing items. These are some of the best brands that either sell preloved clothes online or in store.
Independent and Boutique Second Hand Stores
There are also many independent preloved boutiques for sustainable shoppers in the UK.
Cost Effective, Sustainable and Stylish
Whether you opt to buy from an online marketplace, a brand name’s second-hand section, or pop into a preloved boutique, engaging with the preloved clothing sector is a positive way to update a sustainable wardrobe.
A more cost effective and more sustainable way to shop, and a way to find some incredibly unique pieces, what isn’t to love about buying preloved clothes online?