The thriving second-hand clothing market among students

For many of us, student life is about exploring our first real sense of freedom – living away from home, making new friends, partying, and attending the odd lecture here and there. The end goal, of course, is to come out with a decent degree, but the vast majority are keen to have as much fun as they can along the way.

It’s estimated that there were 2.38 million UK students in higher education in 2018-19, all of them unique in pursuing their individual interests and career paths. But there are common threads that unite much of the student population, too – aside from the wild nights out and the chronic hangovers that follow.

The second-hand clothing market is one such trend that continues to grow in popularity. But what are the reasons for that, and by what means are students trading their pre-loved garments?

Why is the second-hand market proving so popular?

Apart from anything else, buying and selling second-hand clothes is a great way to make a little extra cash. When you’re taking into account rent, bills, rising alcohol prices and the cost of studying materials, the prospect of boosting your bank account is an appealing one. If you’re someone who’s perhaps bought excessively in the past, clearing out the wardrobe can actually create some much-needed space and make your room a more relaxing environment to spend time in.

Delving into the second-hand market can also prove a much cheaper alternative than heading to high-street retailers and, if you know where to look and are prepared to do some serious browsing, you can secure some real bargains. On top of all that, shopping for pre-loved items can throw up some vintage, quirky finds that create an individual style.

Where are students buying and selling?

Online sites such as Depop and eBay prove extremely popular hunting grounds for both buyers and sellers. The latter, of course, need to be able to ship their clothes once they’ve been sold and the likes of Parcel2Go can compare prices of couriers to ensure you get your items delivered in the most cost-effective manner.

Away from the online sphere, charity shops act as hidden treasure troves for those willing to sniff out a bargain. There are more than 11,000 across the UK, many of them full of garments that can easily be re-worn, repurposed or up-cycled or, at the very least, used as part of a fancy dress outfit.