Recycling old clothing is a way to clean out your closet and also a conscious environmental decision as it reduces the amount of fabric that ends up in a landfill.
The number of retailers selling second hand clothing is at an all-time high, having jumped seven per cent in the last two years, according to the U.S.-based National Association of Resale Professionals.
Colt Molson, 20, is a second-year marketing student at Humber College with a keen interest in the fashion business. Molson works at Fashionably Yours, a boutique on Queen Street West where second-hand luxury fashion items are sold on consignment at a reduced price.
“We take items that are no longer being used and give them to buyers who will enjoy the product. No piece of clothing goes without new life,” Molson said.
The store goes a step further by donating any unsold consignment clothing to the Salvation Army, said Molson.
“As we are resellers we care less about brand image of high-end brands and don’t mind donating them to those who need. At the end of the day the label means nothing as it’s a piece of cloth.”
For high-end brands, brand image is crucial, says Rachel McKay, 21, model and second -year Humber Fashion Arts student.
“Brand image is huge with haute couture fashion. In a way, it would make sense for a brand such as Vera Wang or Louis Vuitton to burn their products rather than sell them for cheaper or give them away because of their dollar value,” McKay said.
Yara Zarkout, 21, is a former Michael Kors employee who worked at an Ottawa retail location for about a year.
“During my time at Michael Kors I would hear the worst things. I heard employees make comments about people walking in, saying that they couldn’t afford the bags just by the way they looked,” Zarkout said.
Both Humber’s Fashion Arts and Marketing programs focus on brand image.
“Every class uses examples from retailers like Gap and Holt Renfrew. Brand promotion is a huge part of the business, and it’s a strong topic of discussion in many classes,” said Molson.
Both students have advice on making ethical, environmentally conscious purchases.
“Buy fair trade certified goods. Buy local. Buy products made in America and Canada,” said Molson.
“Not all places in China are sweatshops, while some Italian manufacturers are. Where it’s made doesn’t always mean (it’s) made ethically. Do research. Try to buy organic and avoid mass produced goods. One good quality shirt is worth far more than ten poor quality shirts.”
McKay said, “Customers can help make the world a better place by reducing, reusuing and recycling fashion. be when making a purchases.”