With people being more environmentally conscious and looking to live more sustainably, the world is slowly moving toward being more frugal in the way we buy i.e. buying second hand over new items. However, there is definitely still a stigma around buying second hand items.
Where does this stigma stem from?
I believe that the stigma dates way back to when buying second hand or receiving hand me downs was associated with your financial situation and class. In other words ‘poor’ people had to rely on second hand items to get by, clothe themselves and their children etc. The idea that used items were ‘lesser’ was a very real assumption for many.
Peer pressure was definitely a contributing factor. Even in the 90’s and early 2000’s when I was a teen, I would never have openly stated that my clothes were second hand. I would have been ridiculed for it.
How Is the stigma changing?
I am so glad that over the years, buying second hand has come back into fashion with the words ‘vintage’, ‘pre-loved’, and ‘sustainable chic’ making the concept of buying used seem more appealing or mainstream. The idea of sustainable fashion relates to the current climate, and now you are not classed as ‘poor’, but ‘environmentally minded’. Not that you need a label for buying used items whatever your reasons.
How can we continue to change the stigma?
I feel the best way to change the stigma is through talking. Let people know that the shirt they just admired on you was from the thrift shop. Talk to your children about sustainable fashion and the benefits of buying second hand. Also donate good quality items to the charity shops etc yourself. Make it the norm for you.
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