When I used to work as a volunteer at Oxfam as a teenager, in nearby trendy Coventry Garden, London, I would marvel at the amount of good, quality clothes available to the public, at a fairly cheap price. Some items were new, in that the original price tags were still attached, while others had the look of being worn, but still in good condition.
Years later, as an adult and a mom of two young kids, I would still occasionally browse through some vintage clothing stores, as well as browse online for some pre-loved items.
We no longer live in the UK, or in the West, as my family had moved back to our native country, Malaysia. Hence, no access to Oxfam. However, there are plenty of vintage clothing stores and ‘bundle’ stores which sell fashionable pre-loved clothes from the West or from Japan.
Limited Pre-Loved Modest Fashion Options
Even in a majority Muslim country, these preloved clothing stores do not stock any Muslimah fashion clothings, as they only have Western style clothing. But I still do purchase from these stores, on the odd occasion when I need to find a jacket to travel to a country of cooler climate.
My interest in pre-loved clothing peaked when I recently found out about the fashion industry in general. If anything, these have brought a renewed sense of social activism in me, which have stayed quiet since I left my teenage years.
Top 5 Reasons To Shop Pre-Loved Clothes
#1 – Pollution
The Fashion Industry is considered the second most polluting industry globally, after the oil industry, according to the United Nations (UN).
Total greenhouse gas emission from textiles production is 1.2 billion tonnes annually. That’s more pollution than the aviation and the shipping industry combined!
#2 – High Water Consumption
Did you know that 10,000 liters of water is needed to make 1 pair of jeans? That is the equivalent of one person drinking water of 7 years!!!
That is such as waste of an essential resource!. Remember that water is life, water is needed to sustain lives, and here we are wasting it over jeans and other throwaway clothing.
#3 – Wasteful Consumption
We consume more but use less. Consider the statistics:
- 40% of our clothes in wardrobes are hardly worn
- We purchase 60% more clothes than we did in year 2000, but we only keep them for half the time we used to
As Muslims, we should remember that our faith requires us to be modest, moderate and not to waste:
O Children of Adam! Dress properly at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but do not be excessive. He does not love the transgressors, Surah: 7, Verse: 31
And those who, when they spend, are neither wasteful nor stingy, but choose a middle course between that, Surah: 25, Verse: 6
#4 – Sweat Shops
The fashion industry is heavily dependent on sweat shops.
What are sweat shops and why should you care?
Sweat shops are basically labor-intensive factories filled by low-skilled, low-wage earners, typically women and children. They are typically in low-income countries, where labor laws are weak and do not protect the workers.
According to this article, many of the popular high street, fast fashion stores still employ sweat shop workers, including child labourers.
#5 – Fashion Landfills
Fashion fills US landfills:10 million tonnes of clothes go to landfills, with only 2.4 million tonnes are recycled.
Again, this is such a waste and lends to more pollution.
How You Can Help Change The World
You might think that, you’re just one person. How can you change the world?
It’s all about collective effort. You’re just one person, but collectively, as a group that’s concerned about the environment, you can make a difference. Just by making different choices.
Before you think about your next fashion item, consider how you can help by:
- Recycle your existing clothes, or give hand-me-downs to your kids
- Buy pre-loved clothing, and save the planet AND your money
- Donate pre-loved clothes, and get some rewards for your Akhirah
- Sell your pre-loved clothes, and earn some side income
About The Author:
Farah I is a content writer for Halalop.com . She’s often interested in issues concerning Muslim women, tech startups and Muslim businesses. Her prior work experience was in finance and marketing. She has an MBA and a Bachelors’s in Management. However, she chose remote work to be with her young kids.