Is This Instagram Resale Market the Fashion Girl's Circularity Saviour?
Recently, as I usually do, I was droning on for the hundredth time that week about some fashion item I was coveting to my roommates (YES I am a joy to live with). One pointed out, and rightfully so, that she didn't realize it was possible for someone to so consistently be daydreaming about a new wardrobe piece. And she's right. As much as I go on about limiting consumption, I live to consume clothes.
I am, for lack of a better word, a "fashion girl". I scrape on groceries so I can spend on new boots and vintage dresses. I like to create a new look, even if it isn't often a groundbreaking one. And no matter how much I try for a capsule wardrobe, I am never satisfied with a stagnant wardrobe, and crave a constant evolution of personal style.
This is, as you can imagine, especially if you're an avid BADLANDS reader, very much NOT sustainable, hard as I try to avoid fast fashion and buying things I don't quote-unquote need. But I know I'm not the only one with this exact problem. In fact, that is somewhat of the rub when it comes to sustainable fashion; those of us who really think about clothes and care about what we buy and how it's made-- the fashion nerds of the world, if you will-- are the same people who also love clothing to death, and are always looking for a fresh fit. So how do I, and the countless other fashion victims of the world rectify this paradox? Well there's a variety of ways to consume responsibly, but one particular phenomenon that's crossed my Instagram page as of late just might be a solid solve.
Not long after I was justifiedly read for filth by my beloved roommate, another friend dropped a DM in my Instagram inbox captioned "I think you'd love this". Inside was a link to an Instagram a page reselling second hand garments. Nothing new I thought, although very thoughtful of her to have sent my way considering the account perfectly fit my personal style, but there seems to be never ending pages of girls reselling Value Village pieces at markup these days. However, upon further inspection, this account was different in concept, and not nearly as dull.
The account, @noihsaf.bazaar, was no "vintage" reseller. Instead, functioning as a platform for users across the world to organically resale their carefully curated pieces, the bazaar is the global garage sale of my dreams. Launched in 2013, Kate Lindello, professional stylist and the curator behind the account, created it as a way to sell her own clothes to friends. As more and more friends wanted in to rehome their own stylish and loved pieces, and the account grew, it became much more than a consignment shop stand-in. Boasting upwards of 41.7k followers, the bazaar is now a global tool used by fashion conscious women to trade their own clothes to like-minded buyers.
To the many followers and users of Noihsaf, this account is an opportunity to truly connect with an audience that understands their style and trade off pieces so they can responsibly replace them with a new dreamy piece. The aesthetically attuned account is very careful about the pieces selected to be sold, features punchy graphics to draw in the right crowd, and sticks to its guns in terms of authenticity. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Lindello describes her desire for her bazaar "to be an organic tool for seeing, finding and cultivating style … whether you live in the middle of nowhere, a metropolis or a suburb.”, rejecting any pretentious attitude. In fact, accessibility of fashionable and unique pieces sits at the core of her project, especially considering that she built Noihsaf from Northern Minnesota. Ultimately, as a lover of sustainable and small-scale fashion, Lindello ensures that her bazaar stays fast fashion-free, and is a portal to unique pieces for anyone wishing to partake.
This authenticity remains within Noihsaf's DNA. The page, filled entirely with image submitted by users, is quite straightforward and all function, no glamour. Community members submit their pieces and prices to Lindello, she selects pieces based on her styling inclinations, and posts them to the bazaar if they fit the vibe and brand selection. Once posted, potential buyers comment their postal code, work out the sale directly with the seller, and voila! So goes the cycle of fashion! In no way contrived, Noihsaf Bazaar directly connects buyers and sellers as a sort of sustainable fashion bulletin board, posting looks and linking connecting fashion girls to the pieces they've been waiting for and searching out.
Not only does Noihsaf Bazaar give anyone with an Instagram account the opportunity to access small, sustainable brands, but it also functions as a sort of clothing carousel for those of us who are born to shop (but forced to work). I've said it once, and I'll say it again, consumption is not ever truly sustainable at its core, even if my shopping addiction wishes it was. But if the tiny fashion goblin in your brain forces you to consume the way that mine does, getting proper use out of your garments and breathing a second life into them is a good start.
Noihsaf Bazaar is the sustainable fashion girls dream for two big reasons. Firstly, as a buyer, suddenly you are opened up to a new selection of second hand (YAY!), and oftentimes sustainable to begin with pieces. Noihsaf is basically an invitation to buy that sweater you've been dreaming of because, well, if you don't it might end up in the landfill! Secondly, it's a quick and easy platform for fashion girls to pass off the unique pieces you have grown bored of to someone who will love them as much as you did. While owning something for a short period of time isn't really sustainable, if you can pass it along to someone else who will also give it love, and another life, then you can be partially absolved of fashion sin. Essentially, Noihsaf Bazaar is an open invitation to rotate your wardrobe, because you can be certain that your retired pieces will be loved again and not lost in the landfill. This platform really does make a more responsible case for switching out your wardrobe now and again. Noihsaf Bazaar is the solution that the sustainable fashion girl has been waiting for! Paradox be damned.