The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the carbon footprint of the world and is the second largest polluter of the world’s water. Each year, 92 million tons of waste is dumped in landfills because of fashion and fast fashion is one of the biggest polluter’s in the world, beat only by oil. In an age where many of us live a fast paced life style and give in to the trend of even faster fashion, it’s important to take a step back and look at how our shopping choices can affect our planet. Sustainability is hugely important personally to everyone at Nine Crows which is why we are committed to being as sustainable as possible in the running of our business. As a small independently owned company, we feel that we put so much effort into ensuring that we are circular with how we source, process, and market our clothing. We do lots to contribute to a sustainable way of life and we are very proud of that fact - however, we are always trying to do more!
Sustainable seems to have become a buzz word recently, but it is much more important than a quick trend. We are doing irreversible damage to the environment and fashion is just one of the contributors. If we keep contributing to fast fashion and the wear once and dump culture it creates, it will have serious consequences for the planet. For anyone wanting to reduce their own carbon footprint, one of the easiest ways to do this is shop vintage. Everyone who works at Nine Crows was a huge vintage shopper, even before we worked here we all got the majority of our clothes from vintage shops, and now that we’ve got a little behind the scenes peek at the vintage fashion world, we’re even more passionate about it.
Fast fashion can be cheaper but this is often at the expense of quality of the clothes and unethical conditions for the workers who make the clothes. Clothing nowadays is made for quick consumption and a quick turnover, they’re not expected to be worn for longer than a few months, whereas in the past clothing was constructed to last. These were times when people spent much more on smaller amounts of clothing, meaning the quality of vintage clothing is far superior to contemporary pieces.
Our vintage stores are home to special, one of a kind, great quality pieces. Our buying team fly all around the world (don't worry, we only fly when necessary and we make sure to offset our carbon emissions every time we fly!), sorting through through tens of thousands of items to find these special pieces. It takes hours of endless physical labour to do so, but we LOVE doing it and we love finding gems that you guys love. Because these pieces are curated and more rare, the price point for buying them, is higher, and so in turn they must be sold at a higher price. However, we wanted to be able to make sustainable shopping even more accessible to all budgets, which is why in 2019 we opened the Nine Crows Thrift Shop.
The buying process for our thrift store is completely different. We do not hand pick these pieces. For thrift, we choose the type of clothing item we want and buy it in bulk, meaning it's cheaper for us to purchase so we can therefore sell the pieces for a lower price. Second hand clothing bought in this way is not curated and the customer does the rummaging for those special pieces.This process of buying is super exciting for us as we always come across stunning pieces and it’s always a mystery! In selling this way we hope to get even more people wearing vintage and be able to sell 100% of what we buy, making us even closer to being a zero waste company!
A lot of our clothing is dead stock, a word used for pieces that were never sold or samples that never went into production, which have just been kept in factories. This means the majority of our stock has never even been worn before and you’re stopping something from going to waste. You can still shop contemporary brands like Nike and Adidas when you’re shopping vintage. Our branded pieces are hugely popular and because they’re clothing that is already in circulation, you’re not contributing to even more production and waste, you’re making use of pieces that have already been made. Similarly, our reworked pieces make use of old fabrics which would otherwise go to waste.
Fashion works in cycles, trends come back around all the time so one of our shirts may be from 30 years ago but it can still be bang on trend. For anyone looking for unique pieces to help you stand out from the crowd and do your little bit to help the planet, vintage is the best way to go.