Sunday, 9 December 2012

Is it OK to spend a lot on second-hand clothes?

Buying ethically can be difficult when it comes to certain categories of clothes. Shoes are one of them. Once you get past the 'is leather ethical?' debate, you've got to find a pair you like and then make sure they fit, otherwise there is no point in having them anyway. This is a bit of a problem as a lot of 'ethical' shoe shops are online only, meaning you can't really try them on before you buy (important when you have awkward feet like mine!).

One way to solve the leather debate is to buy plastic-y faux-leather shoes on the highstreet, but then you get the supply chain issues associated with fast fashion. Alternatively, you can invest in good quality, usually leather, shoes that are built to last (and actually worth re-soling a few times). At least this second option is good for the environment, though not particularly vegetarian.

Alternatively, and the most ethical source I can think of, you can get them second-hand. My feet have been getting rather chilly in my ballet pumps here, so winter boots were required. I tried out some of the 'investment-style' shoes in some higher-end high street shops, but by chance stumbled upon these in a Dépôt-Vente on the way home from work. Dépôt-Vente shops are sort of like designer thrift shops, stocking quality second hand, where the seller earns a comission on what they sell on behalf of the original owner. I'm pretty sure I've seen similar things in England!

The only issue is, the items tend to be quite expensive. I paid €70 for these Kickers boots, which are in excellent condition but have got signs of wear. I estimate they'd be about €120 new. In cash-strapped student/intern times, is this acceptable as a price? What value should second hand clothes have?

I'm in two minds about it...

(but look, aren't they beautiful?)

Sadie xxx


Ron McQuade said...

I know how you feel, I'm constantly in this debate. You find all these overpriced vintage shops and you wonder if it's worth it or if they're just jumping on the trend and trying to make a profit. I've seen people that buy vintage from charity shops and then just sell it for profit. On the other hand, sometimes it's even the charity shops, I've seen high street brands, new but with prices only a fraction less than what they would have have been new. On the other hand, cheap second hand just entices me to buy more things that I don't need. So I guess in that way more expensive second hand is fine because if you tailor your choices then you will have still spent less money than on anything new but it's still excellent quality.

Gosh, that's quite a rant, sorry.

Puput said...

these boots are cool.
I never buy shoes from online store so far, because yeah shoes are things you must try first before you buy them :p

Ally D said...

Additionally, the chemical by-products/pollution created from making "pleather" are ghastly for the environment. Haha I'm an ecologist, so I see it as a catch 22. Use leather for long lasting, good quality products, or use synthetically made fabrics for crappy quality products that increase climate change (if you believe in it... I do), and push many natural species towards extinction.

Why is being ethical so complicated?!?

Joyce said...

Your new boots so lovely and somewhat a little rugged too!

I think buying second hand, good-quality leather shoes is a pretty good way to go as the plasticky immitation leather doesn't seem too bio-degradable or good for the environment, plus shoes; boots especially are always comfier when they've been pre-worn!

-Love Joyce

balzu said...

some secondhands are really overpriced...but...several old things last longer, people had made superior things previously

i think discussion about apropriate price in secondhand is irrelevant (of course the cheaper the better=) I bought warm sweeter, coat, trousers, hat and crochet top for less than 2 pounds last week...but I m not from uk and you have to be able to seek)

Katie Fox said...

Those shops sound great, could definitely do with more of them in the UK. The only one I know of is back in my small hometown in North Yorkshire. It's sad that I know she struggles with business as there's still a bit of a stigma attached to shopping second hand. Your boots are lovely- look like they'll last too! x

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ron - buying from vintage shops is preferable but sometimes it feels like their prices are wildly inflated because vintage is in fashion right now.

Anonymous said...

I think it depends on your budget to buy those secondhand items. Like me I don't have much money to buy a branded clothes or shoes. That's why I always visit this website: to check if there is a lot good secondhand shoe products that I can choose because they are affordable.