“Billions of items of clothing are produced every year, but consumers decide what that number will be with their purchasing power. Educating more people to move away from fast fashion is the movement we are trying to encourage through our business.”
— Stella, Co-Founder Second Life Markets
Stella and Meg were both in the height of building their careers in fashion, Stella as a luxury womenswear buyer and Meg as a sustainable designer, but were continuously let down by how pollutive and excessive the industry was becoming globally. With faster, cheaper and more disposable fashion pieces becoming the norm, they started selling their second-hand pieces at local Perth markets. However, finding they couldn’t attract the right buyers, they decided to open their own market with a bunch of friends from the industry - the rest is history.
“At our first market, we had just 15 stalls. But, 30 minutes before opening we already had a line around the building. We were so excited that people were lining up to shop second-hand!”
Second Life Markets is a seasonal quarterly event hosting over 100 curated stalls of vintage and pre-loved clothing collectors, local up-cycling designers and sustainable secondhand homewares and art. “Our goal is to give quality pieces that already exist a second life.”
Square recently collaborated with Second Life Markets at their first Sydney Market Event. Catch our chat with Meg and Stella below, plus sustainable shopping tips from stall holders.
SQ: Your goal is to “educate and encourage fashion consumers to redirect their purchasing power to more sustainable and thoughtful shopping - to slow down fashion and hunt for those special and unique pieces.” Why is this important to you and your customers?
S&M: The right purchase = longevity of that item’s lifecycle. We are sceptical about ordering vintage online and message the seller directly to get exact measurements or hunt down a similar piece at a local vintage store to be sure of the size. It’s important to come together as a community, and we love bringing people together for a sustainable cause.
At Second Life Markets, you can try something on, know where it came from, chat to the seller and leave confidently knowing you made the right purchase. Fashion isn’t going away, so this movement is about creating a more circular fashion system, and for us as individual consumers to change our mindset towards thoughtful and sustainable purchasing decisions.
SQ: What is the appetite in Australia for second-hand and sustainable fashion?
S&M: It’s on fire! Not just here - everywhere. The world is changing and people are becoming more conscious of where they are investing their money. Young fashion consumers are wanting to be different, to be unique, cute and sustainable. Not only can they create change with the way they consume fashion, but they can also unlock their personal style. You can buy something of much better quality for a cheaper price, it makes sense. With celebrities like Bella Hadid rocking vintage fashion, it’s exciting to see a shift in our country’s purchasing power.
SQ: Why is it important to educate fashion consumers about their purchasing habits?
S&M: Supply and demand. Billions of items of clothing are produced every year, but consumers decide what that number will be with their purchasing power. Educating more people to move away from fast fashion is the movement we are trying to encourage through our business. Fashion isn’t going away and there is plenty of clothing to go around. To choose an item that already exists in the world is one item less that goes into landfill. It is one item less that needs to be produced unethically. Greenwashing is such a common marketing tool amongst fashion brands, especially fast fashion brands and it is so frustrating to see uneducated consumers buying into that. Fast fashion and sustainability can never work together. Buying quality, only buying what you need, and buying second-hand, are all steps we can make towards creating a greener planet.
5 minutes with Second Life sellers
SQ: Why is shopping sustainable and reselling your pre-loved pieces important to you?
L: I was brought up shopping second-hand! I used to love markets as a teenager as they were a place I could afford to shop on my $8 p/hr savings. As I got older and learnt more about the impact the fashion industry has on the earth - keeping up my thrift shopping habits was a no-brainer.
SQ: Why do you sell at Second Life Markets?
J: I knew I wanted to sell at Second Life as I had seen the success of previous markets in Perth. The market is well organised and easy to set up/pack down, and it’s so easy to process my payments with Square! I didn’t even have to think, (which was great considering how busy we were all day!), I could just pop in the amount and the customer could tap and run. I ended up completely selling out before the day was done, and I know so many others did too!
SQ: How do you feel seeing your pre-loved pieces move to a new home?
T: It’s always nice seeing my old pieces go to a new home - giving clothes a second life is so important considering how much clothing waste exists in the world. Being conscious about what you consume, making sure you know you wear a piece more than 5 times before you purchase it, and reducing new clothing purchases as much as possible makes a difference!! Selling at the markets made me realise that 95% of the pieces I was selling were in my closet for over 3-5 years, and there were barely any newer pieces I was getting rid of!
Want to know more? Read more business stories, plus tips and tricks to action in your business on Townsquare.