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National Secondhand Wardrobe Week – February 2-10, 2025

National Secondhand Wardrobe Week is celebrated every first week of February and this year it will be marked from February 2 to 10. This week gives us reason enough to indulge in a shopping spree, albeit in an unconventional style. Do you know that thrift stores started gaining popularity around the time of the Great Depression as people scouted for cheaper products? Funded by several missionaries, it has not lost its momentum even today. It’s time you thought about selling your used clothes in a thrift shop and buying another second-hand vintage outfit. Not only does it save your wallet from getting empty, but it also helps in cutting down on environmental waste.

History of National Secondhand Wardrobe Week

The thrift store, also known as a ‘charity shop’ or an ‘opportunity shop,’ sells used goods of all kinds, including clothing, furniture, music, electronic equipment, and general merchandise. These stores are frequently run by non-profit organizations. The concept is that these NGOs accept donations of usable items and then sell them to the public at low prices.

Shoppers flocked to thrift stores as far back as the Elizabethan period, where second-hand clothing bazaars were common. The Wolverhampton Society for the Blind in Staffordshire, England, was the first organization recognized as a ‘charity shop.’ Citizens donated used items for sale, with the proceeds benefiting the visually impaired. The Salvation Army began its thrift shop operations in 1897. By 1929, these thrift shops were so successful that they accounted for half of the organization’s revenue. By the 1920s, Goodwill, which opened its first thrift stores seven years later, had a fleet of 1,000 trucks. The organization gladly came to donors’ homes to pick up used goods.

Oxfam, a well-known charity supported by its charity store network, was founded in 1947 in Oxford, England. The organization, which is best known for its specialty bookstores, now has over 700 locations in England alone. Consignment shops first appeared in the 1950s, when new synthetic fabrics created a demand for new fabrics while also creating mountains of unwanted used clothing. These stores enabled customers to purchase the latest fashion trends at significantly reduced prices.

National Secondhand Wardrobe Week timeline

18th Century
The Advent of Consumerism

The Industrial Revolution sparks widespread consumerism.

First Commercial Chain of Thrift Stores Started

The Reverend Edgar J. Helms starts Goodwill in Boston.

Celebrities Wear Dresses from Thrift Stores

Naomi Campbell wears a silver Versace gown to the Fragrance Foundation Awards, which she previously wore in 1998.

21st century
Thrift stores Go the E-Commerce Route

Secondhand clothing can now be found on websites and Facebook pages.

National Secondhand Wardrobe Week FAQs

Is vintage always second-hand?

An item must be at least 20 years old to be considered vintage by a commonly accepted industry standard, but it does not have to be owned by someone else previously. Many vintage pieces, however, are second-hand.

How many people wear secondhand clothes?

The number of first-time buyers of vintage clothing increased by 33 million last year, and three-quarters of them intend to continue buying secondhand. According to the survey, 223 million consumers are willing to shop secondhand.

Why is second-hand clothing so popular?

By wearing used clothing, you are assisting in the recycling of valuable items that would otherwise end up in landfills.

National Secondhand Wardrobe Week Activities

  1. Join a friend who enjoys thrifting

    We all have that friend who loves to go bargain hunting in the local charity shops. So if you haven't met them in a while, it’s time to start making plans.

  2. Organize a small fashion show

    Throw a small house party for all your friends. Keep the theme as' secondhand outfit looks. ’ Tell each other what looks good on them, what requires stepping up, and share each other’s accessories and shoes.

  3. Spread the word

    If you no longer wear your clothes, donate them to your local charity shop so that someone else can enjoy them. What one person considers junk is a treasure to another.

5 Intriguing Facts About Secondhand Wardrobe Week

  1. One-quarter of Americans shop at thrift stores

    In comparison, only 21% of them shop at a major department store, and 19% shop at an apparel store.

  2. Antique stores account for 13% of sales

    The resale industry in the U.S. generates approximately $17.5 billion in revenue every year.

  3. Indirect estimates tell a different story

    The total value of the resale market could be as high as $24 billion per year.

  4. There’s no ‘typical’ customer at thrift stores

    Among the rich or middle class, many people enjoy the thrill of saving money while discovering a hidden treasure.

  5. The industry employs about 170,000 people

    There’s a 28% increase in employed people between 2007 and 2012.

Why We Love National Secondhand Wardrobe Week

  1. Thrift stores make it easier to dress kids

    Take your growing child and visit a thrift store. You are bound to find high-quality children's clothing in excellent condition for a few dollars.

  2. Thrift stores are high on variety

    All items at a thrift store are bound to be cheaper than in other stores. This gives us the chance to try out different styles and colors that you wouldn't ordinarily buy.

  3. High-quality items can be found

    Thrift store items are usually of higher quality. They've already been worn by one person and have retained their resale value.

National Secondhand Wardrobe Week dates

2022February 6Sunday
2023February 5Sunday
2024February 4Sunday
2025February 2Sunday
2026February 1Sunday

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