Canadian Consumers Are Now Embracing Second-Hand Clothing

With increasing environmental awareness across the globe, being sustainable is now seen as the next big thing. In fashion terms, it’s en vogue.

That’s exactly what’s happening in Canada, and brands like NUMI are taking notice.

Online marketplace ThredUP co-founder Chris Homer stated that, when they first started looking at the Canadian second-hand market prior to entering it, the market was valued at $12bn. Now, their data says it’s valued at $24-bn, and is looking like it could grow to $50bn in no short time.

The fashion industry has taken some heat in the past regarding its environmental impact, thanks to the ‘fast-fashion’ trend, and its carbon footprint, which is estimated by some to be bigger than the footprints of the shipping and airline industries put together.

A report from the online marketplace, Kijiji, notes that people are now embracing ‘community-minded’ commerce, with many noting how helpful it is for the environment that people reuse clothes and buy clothes that others don’t want.

This shift in the mindset of consumers, naturally, has affected brands like NUMI and the fashion industry at large. Earlier in September 2019, fast fashion chain Forever 21 announced that it’ll be closing all of its international locations, which include 44 locations in Canada, thanks to flagging sales.

Retail consultant Bruce Winder explains that fast fashion’s primary demographic are the young, style-conscious shoppers working on budgets, the Gen Z-ers, and the younger millennials,, who just so happen to be the people most concerned about the state of the planet. He says that these people look at every brand and think about how they impact society, employees, and the environment at large.

Value Village District Manage Christine Riddell acknowledges that the stigma surrounding second-hand items still exists, as people perceive it as ‘not having enough money for new clothing’, but that’s quickly changing.

She credits Canada’s education system, which doesn’t shy away from teaching kids about environmental issues at school, which, in turns, makes them more environmentally and socially responsible.

Value Village VP of Recycling Tony Shumpert says that people are now aware of facts like how it takes at least 700 gallons of water to make a single cotton T-shirt, and they’re affecting how people shop.