Earth Day and Fashion: 50 years in the making

50 years of earth day in 2020

50 Years ago…

…on April 22nd Earth Day gave a voice to the growing public consciousness about the state of the planet. Today, Earth Day is recognized by 190 countries, and over a billion individuals mobilize for action each year.

Resale clothing stores and secondhand shopping, once stigmatized, are going mainstream.  It’s the fastest growing segment of apparel retail, according to the National Retail Federation.

Consumer surveys show 72% of shoppers like to buy recycled. “It’s better for the environment and my wallet,” said one local Benicia shopper, “I can buy designer brands that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford.”

Over the last decade, secondhand clothing shops have popped up everywhere. In Benicia we have four. Sparkly Ragz, Pocket Monkey Vintage, and Elisa’s Cottage are all downtown, located on First Street, and Rags to Riches which is located in the Benicia Arsenal.

Remy, owner of Rags to Riches said, “28 years ago I opened the store during the recession of the ‘90s to give people options for shopping and making some extra money.”  To this day, it has been a win for both sellers and shoppers.

Jay, owner of Pocket Monkey Vintage said vintage garments were made better. His customers want to wear something no one else has, and he loves that it keeps garments out of landfills.

Elisa, owner of Elisa’s closet, which is celebrating 10 years in Benicia this summer, says it is a way of life. She is from a very large family and everything was a hand-me-down. Weekends were spent at flea markets finding items for her family. “I started spending my allowance on pins when I was young, and have not stopped.”

Salina of Sparkly Ragz, our newest addition to Benicia, said she was always drawn to labels that she couldn’t always afford, and soon realized she was not alone. Not everyone can afford a label, but they still want to own something special. Her customers find her treasures to be an investment. She also loves the idea of trying to go zero-waste.  

Resale markets spur clothing rotation, not accumulation…

This could also be in part to the popularity of organization gurus or “cleanfluencers” who promote decluttering of homes and wardrobes.

So, as we move into this year’s 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, remember that resale clothing stores help the environment and go visit one of our fabulous resale stores in Benicia.

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