TEXAS – You’ve heard of the slow-food movement, but what about slow clothes?
Sites like ThredUP and Poshmark are making a strong comeback for used clothing, and Texas has a unique advantage in this booming industry.
In Texas, it’s all about going big, and when it comes to used clothing, the supply is endless.
Right now, vintage is the next big thing, and Austin entrepreneur Jillian Collins is taking advantage of it.
A typical day at work for Collins is hunting for hidden treasures in thrift stores. She combs through rack after rack of discarded clothes in search of unique pieces that she can buy and sell online.
During a recent shopping spree, she found one – a blue pleated dress with gold trim caught her eye and provoked a strong reaction.
“This is crazy,” exclaimed Collins. “Oh my, iconic. It’s gorgeous, it’s literally fashion history here.
She clutched the dress in her hands, then pushed the folds aside to examine it more closely.
“There’s dust in the folds,” she said. “That’s how old it is [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 grade, uh, and then something interesting,” she said.
The 27-year-old isn’t doing this for the money, she’s also shopping to save the planet.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that fast fashion produces around 10% of global 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 2020.
“My business kicked off and then the pandemic happened within weeks,” she said. “There’s also been like a huge shift in online shopping, and then just a really incredible increase and interest in vintage.”
And the small business owner doesn’t just buy, sell and promote all of her clothes on social media, she’s also the model and photographer.
She takes all of her photos in her one-bedroom apartment in East Austin using her iPhone 12 and a selfie stick, uploading her photos to her Instagram and online store.
“[I] I love it,” she said. “And it’s also just another form of expression, so that’s what Find Me is so much about.”
The Austinite business is a one-woman operation. She packs all her shipments by hand and delivers them by hand to the post office.
However, Collins says she doesn’t mind doing it all, mostly because it means she can be her own boss.
A thredUP report shows that used clothing sales have grown 21 times faster than new clothing over the past three years and are expected to become a $64 billion industry within five years.
Texas plays a big role in this statistic. The state is a major hub for used clothing, as the Port of Houston ships and brings back the majority of donated clothing from around the world.