TEXAS – You’ve heard of the slow-food movement, but what about slow clothing?
Sites like ThredUP and Poshmark are giving second-hand clothes a comeback, and Texas has a unique advantage in this booming industry.
Texas is all about going big, and when it comes to used clothes, the supply is endless.
Right now, vintage is the next big niche, and Austin entrepreneur Jillian Collins is cashing in.
A typical day at work for Collins is hunting for hidden gems at thrift stores. She combs through rack after rack of discarded clothing looking for unique pieces she can buy and sell online.
On one recent shopping trip, she found one — a blue pleated dress with gold trim caught her eye and caused quite the reaction.
“This is insane,” Collins exclaimed. “Oh my God, iconic. This is beautiful, this is literally fashion history right here.”
She clenched the dress in her hands and then spread apart the pleating to examine it more closely.
“There is dust in the pleats,” she said. “That’s how old this [expletive] is.”
Collins has a degree in fashion design, so she has a love for fashion history and a knack for finding diamonds in the rough.
“First quality, um, and then second something that’s interesting,” she said.
The 27-year-old doesn’t do this for the money, she is also shopping to save the planet.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found fast fashion produces about 10% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Collins left her cushy career at a major fast fashion company to pursue her own sustainable fashion brand Trouve Moi (French for “find me”) Vintage in February of 2020.
“My business started and then the pandemic happened within weeks,” she said. “There’s also been like a huge shift in online shopping obviously, and then just like a really amazing surge and interest in vintage.”
And the small business owner doesn’t just buy, sell, and promote all her clothes on social media, she’s also the model, and the photographer.
She takes all of her photos in her one-bedroom East Austin apartment using her iPhone 12 and a selfie stick tripod, uploading her photos to her Instagram and her online store.
“[I] kinda love it,” she said. “And it’s also just another form of expression so that’s what so much of Trouve moi is.”
The Austinite’s business is a one-woman operation. She hand packages all of her own shipments and hand delivers them to the post office.
However, Collins says she doesn’t mind doing it all especially because it means she can be her own boss.
A thredUP report shows second-hand clothing sales grew 21 times faster than new apparel in the past three years and is expected to become a $64 billion industry within five years.
Texas plays a big role in that statistic. The state is a major hub for second-hand clothing because the port in Houston ships out and bring in a majority of donated clothing from around the globe.