With the rise of sharing, swapping and second hand buying, is the way we value our wardrobes changing?

Every year millions of unwanted or unworn clothes are tossed into landfill and while we’re all becoming familiar with the adage ‘buy less, but better’, what if we stopped buying at all?

Last year saw the launch of 'Share Ware'; a Swedish collection of clothes released on Instagram. Each piece was uploaded as a photograph and the first person to comment gets to have it, completely free for a week. After that they have to dutifully do the same and pass it on to the fastest commenter. Their pitch is ‘Style Money Can’t Buy’, which seems to sum up the shift in attitudes.

In the world of fashion, sharing style is becoming synonymous with stories. The clothes sharing and second hand industry is at the forefront of a wave of people tired of a clinical high street shopping experience and looking for something authentic. Sharers want their wardrobes to have history, variety and quality without a killer price tag.

The other trump factor for budget-stretched shoppers is that sharing clothes or buying second hand gives you the same kick as walking out of Topshop with a bag full of goodies but without the inevitable guilt of a splurge.

Following this trend we thought we’d have a go at using some of the most popular second hand and sharing apps on the market:

1) Depop

The love-child of Instagram and Ebay, Depop combines second hand selling with social in a brilliantly addictive way. If someone wants to buy a dress on Depop, they can see everything else the person who owns that dress is selling, everything they‘ve liked and what other users have said about them. Unlike the faceless sellers of Ebay, you can find out what Depopers’ rooms look like, what their cat's are called and if they’ve changed their hair. As Lizzie Harrison from the Centre of Sustainable Fashion puts it; ‘There is something interesting about this connection with the previous owner, because it is such a personal thing.” It introduces a social element to the transaction process and lets users curate their own style gallery, putting them in control of their shopping experience. We love it because it’s dead easy to use and you can follow people who you know are your style and size giving you a perfectly curated second hand shop.

2) Ebay

Some people swear by Ebay. You’ll meet people whose whole beautiful vintage wardrobes are bought online for pennies or who make their living selling on old garments and while the range of products is unmatched, we can’t help but find the whole thing a bit stressful. Getting into heated last minute bidding wars, missing out on items you love because of bad signal and trawling through unlimited stock all takes a lot of give before you get.

3) Vinted

Vinted works in a very similar way to Depop – you can follow a seller to keep up with what items they are passing on and talk directly to sellers through messaging and comments. The items selling on Vinted generally have a cheaper price tag than Depop but you will rarely find the Pinterest perfect photography that has come to define the best sellers on the app. But if you’re looking for high street brands, guilt free at a fraction of the cost this is the place for you!

I don’t think swapping, sharing and second hand have got all the answers but they’re definitely presenting an appealing alternative to mainstream shoppers. By putting the brakes on the fast fashion treadmill and elbowing their way onto the industry table, people can’t help but take notice.

What do you use to swap clothes and buy seconds? Tell us in the comments below.