Girl in striped Dress - Try Used Kids Clothes

Give Used Baby Clothes a Try

As the last born of three kids, I know about wearing hand-me-down used kids clothes. I got them from my older siblings and sometimes even my cousins. Parents in our generation seldom bought new clothes.  Second hand children's clothes were the norm.

Granted, this was more of a financial issue, but it does appeal to the environmental activist that I am today.

Fast fashion — cheap clothes that are mass-produced and pumped out fast to consumers to maximize the latest trends — is big. In fact, clothes production has quadrupled in the last ten years.


Because branding and marketing have made people believe they need to keep up with the latest trends. Today, the average consumer buys 60% more clothing than they did in 2000. And they get rid of that clothing in half the time. Adults decide to keep up with trends. But babies outgrow clothes quickly. Babies typically outgrow their clothes in less than three months. That makes them the fastest consumers of fast fashion.

The upside is that trendy clothing is now very affordable. As a result, kids no longer have to wear hand-me-downs. And parents can enjoy dressing their babies in what's in at the moment.

But there is a cost.

Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion

Fashion is now responsible for more than 10% of human-generated carbon emissions. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, greenhouse gas emissions by the textile industry are greater than that from shipping and air travel combined. Like that isn’t bad enough, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change projects that this emission will go up to 60% by 2030.

But that's not all.

Impact on water

The global fashion industry consumes a whopping 93 billion metric tons of water each year. That is half of what America drinks annually. To put it into perspective, producing a pair of jeans or a t-shirt consumes 7,500-10,000 liters of freshwater (the amount one person drinks in ten years). Consumption aside, the dyeing process of such fabrics uses toxic chemicals which end up in the water and are responsible for 20% of global water pollution.

Climate change

To feed the industry’s need for fuel and wood pulp, 70 million tons of trees are cut down every year. That number is set to double by 2030, making fashion one of the leading causes of deforestation. Combining the massive amounts of carbon gases and no trees to absorb them, you can see why we are so deep in global warming.

The fashion industry also uses 70 million barrels of oil annually to produce polyester, a material that is used in 65% of all clothing. They also use a massive amount of fossil fuel-based plastic to make hangers and packaging products.


But the biggest downside of fast fashion is poor quality. Only 1% of clothing made today is recycled, with 53 million metric tons of the rest ending up in landfills. Interestingly, it's not just used clothes that are thrown away. Brands throw away or burn tons of unsold clothes, bags, and linens every year. In 2017, the famous brand Burberry burned $37 million worth of bags and clothes.

Unfortunately, these fabrics take years to degrade and produce methane gas in the process.

Microplastic water pollution

Today, many people live in athleisure because of comfort, breathability, and low cost. But, unfortunately, all those things you love are made possible by synthetic materials like nylon, spandex, polyester, and acrylics which shed microplastics in water with every wash. These microplastics end up in the soil and eventually in our food. Those that survive being filtered out end up killing marine life as well as birds and turtles.

Kids smiling and telling secrets.The Solution – Buy Used Kids Clothes

As you can see, maybe our parents were onto something after all. The cost we are paying just to wear trendy outfits is not worth it now, and things will only get worse if nothing is done. While big brands like Adidas and Ralph Lauren are making changes toward using only sustainable materials and methods to produce clothing, the government is extremely slow in mitigating the devastating impact of the fast fashion industry.
Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do as consumers to stop this epidemic. For starters, we can cut the consumption of fast fashion and choose to follow our parent's ways. Maybe hand-me-downs from siblings are not the way to go, but we can buy second hand toys and children's clothing from consignment stores and thrift shops.

The good thing about used baby clothes is that they are often like new. Babies typically wear outfits for three months or less before growing out of them, and since babies have so many clothes, most of their outfits are barely worn. Online shops like Poshmark, ThredUp, and TOYCYCLE – yes they sell baby and kids’ clothes too - are taking this second-hand trend to new levels. They only sell high-quality, fashionable clothing that few would even know is used.

Name Brands at a Great Price

Always wanted to buy your child name-brand clothing from Gucci but couldn’t afford it? These second-hand baby stores carry high-end clothing brands at incredible discounts. The clothes you get here are durable and classy and you can pass them along to younger siblings because they’re better quality and more likely to last.

But what we love most about used baby clothes, apart from being cheaper, more durable, and always on-trend, is zero environmental impact. Most reputable named brands make clothes from high-quality materials that don't shed microplastics or other synthetic substances in water. Used clothes have also already been washed several times, so any chemicals in them have washed away and won't affect your child.

The fact that they can be worn for many years to come is also a big deal. No one wants any more clothes in the landfill, so the longer we can wear what we have, the better it is for the environment.

Buying and Selling Used Baby Clothes

If you have relatively new children's clothing in your house, you can easily consign them with any number of online marketplaces, like TOYCYCLE. While you’re at it, peruse what they have for sale and pick up some new items for your kids. Second hand clothes are unique and allow your child to develop their very own #kidstyle.

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