Looking to go the eco-friendly, sustainable route with your wardrobe? Here are Singapore’s top spots for secondhand shopping
How do you define sustainable fashion? Some would say it’s when you buy from brands that create items made of sustainable, biodegradable or eco-friendly materials – which is great, because studies have shown that plastic-based clothing materials release microplastics into the ocean with every wash – while others agree it involves exclusively shopping secondhand.
Personally, I’m a big believer in clothes swapping and thrift shopping. It makes it possible to not contribute to the growing problem of waste. Buying something brand new could mean that your surplus of old clothes will end up in a landfill, incinerated or sitting in a donation pile without getting sold. Instead, you could swap your clothes for existing, secondhand ones (meaning they’ll be kept on rotation in different hands for as long as possible) or purchase well-maintained preloved items.
This may be easier said than done for some, but we really do need to stop ourselves from buying more than we need. Try not to be so overcome by the fact that something is cheap, or that you’re getting a good deal, only for it to be put aside and forgotten, and eventually chucked out when you ‘rediscover’ it in your wardrobe during your next spring clean.
So before you get enticed by that SALE sign in the mall, maybe just keep walking?
Click through the gallery to check out the best spots for quality clothes swapping and thrift shopping!
Lead image by Swapaholic via Facebook
Swapaholic is a clothing and accessories swap that lets you trade in your items in exchange for points to use at their swap party, a cashless shopping event where you can browse clothing by other swappers. They have a special place in my heart because I’m a huge fan of their cause and I always walk away with some incredible finds (seriously, almost every outfit of mine nowadays is made up of at least one swapped item!).
Amazing for Konmari-ing your wardrobe, Swapaholic requires you to pick out items from your closet that you no longer wear and pack them up to be collected and processed for quality checks at their warehouse. They will then generate “Swapling points” according to the condition each clothing item is in, which you will then be able to use at the next swap party.
At my first swap event, I managed to score over 70 points from swapping in 20 of my clothing items, and walked away from the swap party using just 30 points on about 10 items. My points were then kept in my account to use for the next event.
It’s also bring-your-own-bag and there are often local brand/influencer collaborations. Keep up to date with them on Instagram to get the latest on their Swap Party announcements! Check out all the deets for the Reimagine Swap Party happening on 27 July 2019.
Image by Swapaholic via Facebook
The Fashion Pulpit started out as a roving fashion swap event, holding several swap events over the course of three years, before deciding to debut their own permanent swapping space in Liang Court.
Membership prices vary, starting at just $35 for a one-time swap (up to 10 items), $88 for one month of unlimited swapping, $208 for three months of unlimited swapping and $358 for 6 months of unlimited swapping. The clothing and accessories you swap in will earn you points according to quality, style and brand. While they highly encourage swapping, you can also walk in and purchase the displayed items in cash.
The Fashion Pulpit still holds swap events occasionally. The upcoming one is happening on 28 June 2019!
The Fashion Pulpit, 177 River Valley Rd, #02-08 Liang Court, Singapore 179030
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 11am – 8pm
Image by The Fashion Pulpit via Facebook
Nestled in a little corner on Waterloo Street, the New2U Thrift Shop by Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) was my go-to place for great secondhand threads and the occasional vintage or designer gem during my polytechnic days. I’m so happy to see that it’s still in operation since opening its doors in 2000!
The shop is managed entirely by volunteers, and sells pre-loved clothing, accessories, household items, ornaments, books and more. All goods are donated (however they are not able to accept donations at the moment due to space constraints), and prices start from as low as $1! Proceeds from the store go towards Star Shelter and the various SCWO Initiatives.
New2U Thrift Shop, 96 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187967
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10:30am to 2:30pm
Image by New2U Thrift Shop via Facebook
Arguably the OG of the Singapore thrift shopping scene, the Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores are a collection of shops run by the charity’s social enterprise arm, Red Shield Industries. Here you’ll find everything from men’s, women’s and children’s clothing to furniture, home decor items and secondhand goods in decent condition. You can also shop from them online via Lazada and Carousell!
Salvation Army Family Thrift Store, multiple locations
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) runs four flagship thrift stores in neighbourhoods across the island, offering a range of carefully selected furniture, clothes, collectibles and house wares waiting for a new home. You might have to dig a little through the racks, but you might find some real treasures as they often ensure that all goods are value-for-money and constantly updated.
MINDS Shop, multiple locations
Image by MINDS via Facebook
Other fab options for sustainable shopping include trawling through your neighbourhood flea market, heading for garage sales (keep your eyes peeled on Facebook groups for any expat families leaving Singapore) and checking out events like Blessings in a Bag and Carouselland. These do require a bit of effort to attend and you may not always walk away with something, but when you do find a cool piece it’s always really satisfying!
Image by Carousell via Facebook