Anyone taking a stroll through their favourite shopping district knows that the first tell-tale sign of spring is upon us: sales in every store! That’s right. Stores everywhere are offloading the last of their winter collections and welcoming in this years spring looks. If you love to shop as much as we do, you already have a hunting list a mile long of new pieces you want to freshen up your closet. While it’s tempting to follow suit (especially that floral suit in the window), crack open your wallet and stock up, let’s take pause and do the math. What is the real cost of buying brand new pieces each season?
The fashion industry is built on the sentiment of “out with the old, and in with the new”. So much so, that fashion labels now release up to five collections per year, instead of the long gone traditional two. That is A LOT more clothing. So much more in fact, that the amount of clothing being manufactured per year on our good green earth has doubled since the turn of the millennium. Fast fashion (because at five collections a year it has to be) is one the largest uses of fresh water on earth. Between manufacturing and shipping, the fashion industry also contributes tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. And where does all this clothing go, when we are 'over it’? Most ends up in landfills, enough to fill the harbour in Sydney, Australia each year. Google it. It's huge. Yikes. So not only are we paying the full price tag, but collectively we will all pay for the damage fast fashion does to our environment. Grim, we know. The good news is as the lean, mean, green shopping machines that we are, we have a solution. A good one too!
This spring, go as green as the leaves and consider consignment in your closet refresh. It’s great for your wallet, with the significantly smaller price tags and opportunity to make some coin off your closet cleanouts. It’s great for the environment, with no new manufacturing, mass shipping, and ultimately less clothing being sent to the dump. It’s great for your personal style, making constant closet reinvention affordable with a fun treasure hunt vibe. And finally, it’s great for your soul. Most consignment stores are local businesses, and often women-owned and operated. So you’ll be building up your local economy, and women who live in your hood. Convinced yet?
If you are going to consign your clothes, it’s important to know when to do it. Most consignment stores intake pieces when it makes sense for them to sell (at the start of a season), while others do accept items year-round. Call ahead or check their websites to be sure of acceptance windows, but most follow the seasons. For example, the minute you’re drooling over a new raincoat for upcoming spring, go home and dig out a few from your collection that can be re-homed. Besides, you’re going to need the closet space for your new thrifty finds. When choosing items to consign, check with locations on what types and condition of clothing they accept. When in doubt, bring it with you, and fix it up nice. Steaming a piece and bringing it on a hanger can go a long way. If it’s a no, you can donate or consign the item elsewhere. To help you find your local treasure troves where you can sell and shop, we have a few examples from across Canada to get you started. These places do it up right, and will give you a feel for what to look for in your area, or have online stores for you to take advantage of!
Starting out west, let’s talk about a Calgary woman’s upscale consignment chain, SalvEdge (and yes, we mean EDGE!). Here you will find an amazing collection of special pieces spread across two locations! This is a great place to find those unique classic items you will have forever, with a price tag that won’t raise your eyebrows. SalvEdge ensures pieces are in great condition and somehow always has an amazing stock of items. SalvEdge will even host you for a private “Shop & Sip” party with your pals, so you get the whole store to yourself. For consignors, bring a minimum of 6 items with you to get started. Once your account is ready to go, you can choose between cash or store credit. For designer labels you can even get your cash upfront!
Another YYC gem is the OG for cool consignment in Calgary, a special Mother-Daughter owned business, Velour Clothing Exchange. Here you will find the coolest collection of 60s-90s vintage alongside the current trends. It’s a great place to get creative with your personal style, find some precious rare pieces or a fun look for the upcoming season. True Calgarians know and cherish Velour Clothing Exchange. They are a staple in the community, and even rent out their wears to photographers and artists for local projects! You can buy, sell or trade men’s and women’s items here, so get creative with crafting your closet at Velour Clothing Exchange!
Now, off to the west coast, Shameless Resale is a must-know for anyone in Vancouver. Here you can get cash up front, consign for a higher price, or trade for store credit. Consignors need to move quickly, as this hot spot fills its gorgeous seasonal inventory FAST. That means people know about Shameless Resale, and your items will fly off the shelves! For the shopper, here you will find the very best of the Vancouver population’s closet with gorgeous labels galore at various price points. Shameless Resale has a beautiful online store and carries both men’s & women’s clothing & accessories. Anyone across Canada can shop here and ya should! It’s that good.
Now off you go consignment connoisseurs! Between saving the planet, and finding a perfect leather jacket, you’ll be skipping down the sidewalk like a Disney princess do-gooder and rolling in cash like Scrooge McDuck. Happy selling and shopping!
Written by Carlie McPhee
Carlie is a homegrown Canadian gal with roots in Calgary, and central AB. She is a new transplant to Vancouver, BC and exploring all this city has to offer. She is a saavy shopaholic who loves to support local businesses and communities with her wallet and her words.