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The Environmental Benefits of Clothes Thrifting - A Guide to Thrifting in Hong Kong

With an average of 110,000 tonnes of disposed garments per year in Hong Kong, fashion trends and discounts on a rapid rise, and an even faster pace of constant changes… How often does the average person ever rethink their choices of the constant renewal of the variety of simple garments lying in our closets, and its impact on the world around us?

Clothing, and the infamous rise of fast fashion amongst society hold an undeniably large toll towards the environment, such as an excessive use of water and energy with the production of a single cotton T-shirt, taking up to 2,700 liters of water to create, alongside a horrific contribution towards the global climate emissions. However, in regards to the industry's large, detrimental harm towards the environment, many influential celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Winona Ryder, have chosen to speak up over the issue by raising awareness of their conscious consumerism, and their part towards the trending, sustainable alternative to fast fashion - the market of thrifting.

Read more about Fast Fashion

The Increasing Trend of Thrifting

Consumers are increasingly conscious of their choices in decision making towards consuming in the garment industry through thrifting, as a way to reduce their carbon footprint, alongside supporting small businesses and local communities.

Thrift stores hold a sense of individual uniqueness and unpredictableness. No store is the same, whilst each store stores their own iconic pieces unlike any other, holding an exclusive diverse range from each trend throughout the fashion eras, from unusual 70s bell bottoms, to pairs of 2000s velour tracksuits. This element of navigation for the trendiest piece possible, holds consumers glued to each store searching high to low for hidden gems. Various popular social media icons have caught onto the thrill of sharing their precious finds onto their platforms, inspiring others and creating a brand new generation of second hand shoppers. And soon, thrifting managed to change its label of shopping, to a lifestyle for Gen Z, as consumers popularly fed into the rewarding experience where consumers find good quality products at low, affordable costs.

Reasons to thrift

The fashion industry acts as one of the most harmful industries towards the environment, with clear, undeniable claims such as an obvious overconsumption of water - Every year the industry uses around 93 billion cubic meters of water, an amount which would be enough to satisfy the consumption needs of 5 million people.

The process of producing new clothes is more detrimental than one may believe with manufacturing, production, shipping etc coming into place. As such, creating the materials required to produce new clothes to meet consumer demands uses up mass amounts of resources, and is a highly intensive process. Textile materials such as single pieces of cotton from the shirts we wear daily are highly pesticide intensive, and can lead to soil acidification and water contamination, alongside shipping processes of oil contamination in the sea and much more harming the ecosystem of wildlife and plantlife.

In addition to this, The World Bank also estimates that the industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, exceeding their footprint to an excessive amount over large transport industries, such as the footprints of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

As such, as a way to help save our environment in regards to the fashion industry, the World Bank recommends that consumers can act through small contributions such as donating old clothes to avoid adding to landfills, or purchasing clothes made with recyclable materials, purchasing clothes responsibly, or purchasing second hand clothing.

Thrifting helps reduce waste, and is an easy alternative and change towards our daily lifestyle, and curates a 'one of a kind' wardrobe, at a low price. Buying second hand clothing prevents masses of waste of energy and resources made from the production of creating new clothing.

Thrifting in Hong Kong

Midwest Vintage - Fortress Hill

A popular vintage store offering quality clothing, with a popular retro US flare.

Mee and Gee - Mongkok

Mee and Gee is known for their incredibly low prices, with a large variety of stock from second hand vintage suit pieces and accessories, to factory rejects. Perfect for those searching for cheap clothing.

Salvation Army's Family Store - 17 outlets across Hong Kong

The store collects donations from public citizens, and allows you to donate your own items as well. The Family Store sells clothes, decorations, accessories, stationary etc. at low prices.

Little Dot Vintage - Tsim Sha Tsui

Little Dot Vintage sells items selected by their owner, with a variety of unique, one of a kind handpicked pieces.

Green Ladies - Wanchai, Hennessy Road

Green Ladies has promoted sustainability amongst clothing, and implemented a recycling programme since 2008, selling classy and work attire outfits.


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