When you go to purchase a product, do you stop to think of the environmental impact that particular purchase could hold? For the vast majority, the answer is no. Never-ending streams of sales and promotions has bred a population of over-consumption in fashion. Second-hand clothing sites seem to offer a simple solution to this. Platforms such as ‘Depop’ and ‘Vinted’ boast a sustainable method of breaking fast fashion chains whilst also remaining budget and user friendly. Buyers can scroll through endless amounts of ‘vintage’, ‘reworked’, and ‘one-of-a-kind’ pieces. This should be the perfect solution for those wanting to remain environmentally conscious whilst also buying some really unique pieces; these sites are verified and trusted and so should be the content they sell.

What is ‘Dropshipping’?

‘Dropshipping’ is this concept of sellers making profits on cheaply made garments; all whilst selling them under the guise of good quality, ethical consumption. This is the latest online scam frequenting online second-hand clothing sites in particular; of which more and more customers are becoming victims of. The seller buys in bulk from ethically questionable, fast fashion retailers (the likes of ‘Shein’ and ‘Aliexpress’) and resells them on second-hand platforms for high profits. It’s morally dubious and goes against everything these sites were designed for whilst also putting customers in the tricky position of wanting to make environmentally-friendly purchases yet not knowing how to avoid such scams.

We have here an example of ‘Dropshipping’. The image on the left shows an item available at ‘Shein’. The image on the right has the exact same item being resold on ‘Depop’ for nearly triple the price.

How do we avoid this?

Platforms such as Etsy tend to follow stricter seller laws and, therefore, means the buyer is less likely to get scammed (popular second-hand sellers include MarmaladeVintageCo and shopTheFaraway). Online Kilo sales are another great way of securing some unique pieces and supporting your local area. The likes of Depop and Vinted can also be environmentally-friendly methods of shopping, just be sure to purchase with caution:

  • Do a reverse Google image search if questioning the origins of an item – particularly when labelled as ‘one-of-a-kind’
  • Always read seller/shop reviews
  • Use similar search terms across a number of platforms to get a feel for price ranges and products available

By all means, we should not avoid using these sites because, largely, they are a method of eco-friendly consumerism. To completely disregard such platforms as problematic only further contributes to the larger issue of extreme fast fashion.

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