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Let’s face it, fast fashion isn’t sustainable. In fact, the fashion industry is the world’s second largest polluter after only oil. But we’ll admit, it can seem impossible to avoid. Especially when you’re operating on a budget (as most of us are) shopping only sustainably conscious designers can seem like the fast track to bankruptcy compared to our beloved H&M and Zara.
But what if there was a way around spending tonnes on sustainable clothing? We’ve already talked about the perks of vintage shopping, and while hitting up your local opp shops is always recommended, we’ve just discovered something even more enticing: A clothing library.
Just like what it sounds, Sydney-based The Clothes Library is a place where you can shop or check out clothes, breaking the buying-and-binning cycle that is all too easy to get caught up in. With everything sourced second-hand, The Clothes Library creates a space where people can find new additions to their wardrobe from stuff that would otherwise be heading to landfills. And with designer brands from Camilla and Marc to Marc by Marc Jacobs, these options are no duds.
“Most people choose fast fashion because it is affordable and convenient but mainly because they don't know anything else.” The library’s founder Sarah Freeman says on the site. “I am hoping people who are trying to be bit more conscious about the choices they make when it comes to fashion will use the library because it could potentially revolutionise the way we shop for clothes in general.” And a revolution is definitely necessary in terms of the way fashion has been operating.
Thankfully, clothing rental sites, sustainable fashion brands, and innovative ideas like The Clothes Library are pushing the boundaries and reshaping our understanding of fashion every day. Much like a normal library, member of The Clothes Library can check out a specific number of clothing items per month, swapping them out whenever they get bored. Membership does require a small fee, but it also allows for discounts on purchases, as well as the opportunity to consign clothes at the shop. For those who don’t want to become members, you can still shop the pre-loved clothing online or in the store.
It’s no secret that we love vintage shopping as is, but this may just be the next big thing. Whether or not the idea of clothing libraries catches on, if nothing else this Potts Point establishment is changing the way we think about shopping. Rather than viewing our clothes as expendable, perhaps we should all look at fashion as something more circulatory. Even if you grow sick of item, it doesn’t mean it should become trash. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure—and the best way we can minimise the pollution done by the fashion industry is to keep clothes in circulation, cutting down on the amount we’re constantly sending to landfills. Only time will tell, but hopefully The Clothes Library is just one of many examples yet to come of innovative approaches to shopping sustainably.