Object Limited Is the Secondhand Solution We’ve Been Yearning For
With increasing awareness and reporting on the ongoing climate crisis, we’ve learned more about the top industry offenders and culprits with the largest footprints. Fossil fuels and agriculture top the list—but the clothing and apparel industry takes a significant toll as well, accounting for 10 percent of humanity’s carbon emissions and a major consumer—not to mention polluter—of the planet’s water supply. Producing a single pair of jeans requires 2,000 gallons of water, on average, and laundering synthetic fibers are to blame for nearly a third of all microplastics found in oceans. Meanwhile, 85 percent of all textiles end up in the dump, as fast fashion feeds an appetite for constantly buying new, cheaply made garments. (To go deeper into all of this, we recommend Tatiana Schlossberg’s new book, Inconspicuous Consumption.)
The stark figures make for a compelling case for shopping vintage and secondhand, and with a plethora of online sellers, boutiques, and marketplaces, from eBay and 1stdibs to Etsy and Depop, there is a style and budget for everyone. One of our favorite places to browse is Object Limited, an online shop and app that offers highly curated sales hosted by vendors who are vetted and selected by application. Its founder, Anna Gray, a vintage hound, writer, and sometimes model, started the easy-to-navigate platform after a cross-country road trip yielded a literal truckload of thrift and antique store finds. “It opened our eyes to how much stuff is out there, just waiting for a good eye to show it to someone that needs or wants it,” Gray says, adding, “Everything ‘new’ and trending—fashion, home goods, etcetera—is a remake of something else. You never have to buy anything new, except for tech and underwear.”
Buying vintage not only makes for more conscientious consumption, it’s perennially in vogue. Virgil Abloh, for one, thinks streetwear will soon be a thing of the past: “I think that fashion is gonna go away from buying a box-fresh something,” he recently told Dazed. “It’ll be like, hey, I’m gonna go into my archive.” While buying vintage clothing alone won’t save the planet (and may come with hidden environmental costs), at the very least, giving a secondhand garment another life always makes for one less piece of clothing in the trash.