Buying ideas: Purchasing quality secondhand clothes this holiday season

While green consumers are typically guided toward environmentally friendly products in the supermarket or at high-end electronics stores through the use of labeling, in other industries, this marketing is less pervasive. For example, many green consumers – and even those who otherwise pursue green careers – still buy their clothing at trendy outlets, where often the only information that's available comes on the manufacturer's tag.

Now, savvy green consumers likely know to avoid certain products – say, cotton, which uses a number of the top pesticides in the course of its production – in favor of alternatives such as organic cotton, soy, modal and wool. But, instead of buying new goods that have less of a carbon footprint, environmentally conscious consumers may want to consider the secondhand clothing market.

According to a recent report from The Green Blog of The Boston Globe, many secondhand items – those not initially used in Salvation Armys, Goodwills or other big consignment stores – end up overseas, where they threaten local industries.

This news source highlighted the efforts of Sean Hewens and Ross Lohr, the founders of two Boston-based nonprofits, who thought of a creative way to resell these shirts through their No More New Campaign. Using Kickstarter to raise the funds, these eco-warriors are buying back the t-shirts and working with African artists to redesign the shirts for American consumption.

"The idea is so ridiculous that it resonates with people," Hewens told the news source.

The two founders hope to raise awareness about consumption in the United States and how it affects other industries abroad through the program. Consumers who want to join in the effort – and purchase a stylish new shirt for a friend or loved one this season – should take note, or at least think twice about their holiday clothing purchases this year. 

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