Local Clothing Resellers Give Garments a Second Chance

These local clothing resell shops help discarded garments avoid the landfill and get another chance to be worn.
Owner of The Wild Fern, Heather Omeltschenko

Photograph by Victoria Donahoe

Local thrift and clothing resellers are creating a more environmentally friendly future for fashion and clothing consumption despite ever-increasing fast fashion trends. For those that don’t have the time to search through secondhand shops, clothing resellers take on the job themselves, curating a specific aesthetic for their resell shops by spending lengths of time hunting for the perfect garments to add to their collection.

Clothing reselling and shopping secondhand is a practice that’s more beneficial for the environment. Earth.org shows the fast fashion industry is the second largest industrial polluter in the world, accounting for ten percent of global pollution. Clothing sales since 2000 have grown, while simultaneously there has been a decline in clothing lifespan, as people are buying new garments more often while wearing them less.

These three local clothing resellers are doing their part to encourage sustainability when shopping for clothes.

2nd Life Studio

Emma Heines began thrifting with her dad as a child; every year, they would visit their local Valley Thrift to find clothes she could wear to summer camp. In high school, she returned to thrifting as an inexpensive social pastime. Eventually, the hobby led to discovering her passion in life, and Heines opened her resell and vintage brand, 2nd Life Studio.

As a second-hand reseller, Heines hopes to see people shopping more sustainably in the future, and aspires to promote and educate others on the how to build a sustainable wardrobe. While she runs her shop day-to-day virtually, she also welcomes customers to schedule appointments at her studio to try outfits on and hosts pop-ups including at Findlay Market and the City Flea.

“If you’re exploring your style and your personality and your expression, buy something from a reseller or go to a thrift, put a little bit of thought into it,” she says, adding that style does not need to be sacrificed to shop sustainably.


The Wild Fern

The “slow fashion” movement aims to create a cultural shift in the fashion industry by advocating that clothing be manufactured with respect to people, animals, and the environment. This concept inspired Heather Omeltschenko to open a second-hand shop in Covington. Packed into one small room is The Wild Fern, which shares its space with second-hand homegoods retailer, Eva de Vintage.

Omeltschenko gets her inventory from large donation centers. From a young age, she says her stepmother took her to thrift stores and showed her how to hunt for unique garments at a price that was easier to stomach. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” a concept Omeltschenko began to live by.

Seeing people cherish the clothes they find is what brings Heather joy and drives her passion for her business. Customers can reserve appointments to peruse through her inventory and make their purchases. “I want to be the person who gives [items] to the person who is getting them. I want to see where these cool pieces are landing,” she says.


Queen City Thrift

In the early days of the pandemic, Katie Neeb, 16 at the time, and her mother were driven to declutter her closet, stuffed full of clothing, some of which she hardly wore, and donate much of it. Neeb, who’d purchased much of the clothing with her own money, didn’t want to give them to a corporation that may send them to the landfill. “Someone might not benefit from this item,” she says.

Neeb created an Instagram account to sell her clothing, and her business, Queen City Thrift, began from there. Nowadays, Neeb sells her garments through virtual clothing resell platforms such as Poshmark. She sources the items she sells from the Goodwill Bins, a warehouse filled with huge plastic tubs brimming with discarded clothing, grasping at one last chance to be purchased before being shipped to landfills in other countries. Garments at these warehouses are typically sold by the pound for around a dollar. “I remember finding brand-new Lululemon leggings with tags. What are we doing? Who would throw this away?” Neeb says.

The difficult part of being a reseller is seeing the vast amounts of waste produced by the clothing industry. “The dark side of thrifting is that as excited as I get for some finds, to know that somebody chanced this ending up in the landfill will never sit right with me,” Neeb says.


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