Worn for Good came about when a fashion marketer and a social worker combined their experience and expertise "for good".
I get excited when I discover businesses contributing to a circular economy and I want to share my discovery, spreading the word about their services, and also holding them up as a model for how businesses can be a vehicle for change.
Australian based, Worn for Good came to my attention this week because of the clever way this not-for-profit marries social and environmental solutions. In a nutshell, it's an online store selling new and preloved designer fashion with 100 percent of profits donated to charity. Quality, sustainable Australian fashion brands donate pieces from their collections, as well as individuals with suitable clothes that are ready for a new owner.
When a customer makes a purchase, they get to choose (by clicking on their personal preference) which of one of three charities their purchase will support. This clever concept has not only created a solution to the fashion industry's vast waste problem, but they are supporting charities that help society's most vulnerable and the environment: Women's Community Shelters, Environmental Restoration group, Greening Australia and Look Good Feel Good, helping cancer patients with their confidence.
Worn for Good stocks ethically made, quality fashion but, even though the prices are much reduced from their retail price, they are still expensive clothes. It's a good place to start if you can afford it and want to practice "quality over quantity" when clothes shopping. You also get the added satisfaction that your purchase goes towards helping someone in need. And if you hit the jackpot and find your coveted item, in your size, you also get the satisfaction of paying less!
If you can afford it, try to buy less clothes and choose to invest in quality items that you will love forever (and not be tempted to replace next season). Australians are currently disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile every 10 minutes! Adding to the problem are clothes made from synthetic fabrics like polyester and lycra (i.e. made from plastic) that don't decompose and hang around for hundreds of years. So where possible opt for natural fibres like organic cotton, wool and linen.
The partners behind this not-for-profit describe what they have created as a "vehicle for change, and as a way to build community around the causes that they care about". I love that and hope others will find inspiration in this concept and more and more new businesses will find clever ways to contribute to the circular economy.
If you are aware of similar social enterprises in your city that sell more affordable clothes, let us know in the comments so we can share your local knowledge with our community.
By Allison Licence
Allison Licence is a Sydney-based freelance writer and 1 Million Women volunteer who is passionate about the environment and finding ways to live more sustainably.