“This led to a process of re-evaluating my clothes – selling some things on, repairing others and only buying five new items a year. Everything else is second-hand,” Souslby explains. In the last year alone, she has repaired three items (a pair of jeans, boots and a skirt) and altered a pair of trousers and jeans to change the silhouettes.
For some, the comparative price of repairs and alterations to buying new from fast fashion brands can be too high: it costs £20 ($25) to repair a tear and £30 ($37) to create a new neckline on a shirt at The Seam. But for Soulsby, it comes down to value and mindset.
“If you love something, and you know it is so old you wouldn’t be able to source it again then it is absolutely worth keeping,” she says. “It’s hard to find things you really love and want to keep wearing – with all of the good times and memories that attach themselves to those items.”
Soulsby’s reevaluation of her wardrobe included tackling the hunger for new clothes, driven by brands pushing trends and new pieces, sometimes on a daily basis. She says it’s a model that even some second-hand sellers have adopted. “Lots of sellers echo the ‘drop’ model so they keep up that feeling that you have to have it. I think it can lead to rash impulses and poor buys.”
Lisa Wenske, a copywriter from Berlin and loyal second-hand shopper, agrees. She made a New Year’s resolution in 2017 to only buy second-hand clothing for a year – both out of necessity (a shoestring budget) and a growing concern for the effects of fast fashion on garment workers and the planet. The resolution became a habit; Wenske rarely buys new clothes.