Clothes Industry Tips

Canadian Customers Embracing Used Clothing

November 24, 2019

Canada’s attitude towards second hand clothing is changing, and brands like NUMI and the second hand market are taking notice.

Increasing environmental awareness is driving a boom in the Canadian resale market, as the stigma against used clothing becomes a thing of the past.

Online marketplace ThredUP Vice President Chris Homer said that, when they first started looking into the Canadian resale market, it was valued at $12bn. Now, he says, it’s valued at double that, and looks set to double in value again within the next couple of years. Homer reports a 70% growth year-on-year on their platform in Canada.

The fashion industry has gotten some heat in the past due to the impact it has on the environment, for the throwaway nature of ‘fast fashion’ which is infamous for filling up landfills, as well as its carbon footprint, which is estimated to be bigger than the shipping and airline industries’ footprint put together. The used clothing market is growing due to the awareness of such information, with environmental concerns overriding any stigma associated with buying used articles of clothing, for the most part.

A report that was recently published by online marketplace Kijiji notes how consumers are embracing ‘community-minded’ commerce, with people in Canada’s second-hand economy saying that environmental concern was a huge driving factor to them going for used clothing.

This shift in consumer thinking has been noticed by brands like NUMI and the fashion industry at large. Earlier in September 2019, fast fashion chain Forever 21 made an announcement; they’ll be closing all of their international stores, with 44 of those locations located in Canada. Reportedly, this is due to their drop in sales.

Bruce Winder, a retail consultant explained, saying that the primary demographic of fast fashion; young, style-minded consumers working on budgets, are also the ones who are most environmentally aware and concerned for the planet’s state.

He notes that, the younger millennial generation, alongside Gen Z, are the most environmentally conscious, being the ones who look at product brands and products in terms of what kind of impact these companies have on society, their employees, and, most importantly, the environment.