By: Sarah Lehman
Sometimes, the best things happen on a whim.
Last fall, when my sister Krista began talking about starting a little shop selling secondhand and vintage clothing, I was on board immediately. Just a few days later we went and sourced our first pieces and named our new business Wildwood Threads. Talk about fast!
At the time, I was recently graduated and looking for a job. I needed something to do and this was the perfect solution. Since that initial knee-jerk reaction, I discovered two other really good reasons for this shop to exist.
SUSTAINABILITY and ETHICALITY
Over the last few years, I’ve slowly been learning about fast fashion and its effects on human lives and the environment. Here’s a quick summary: fashion companies depend on ever changing styles to keep shoppers coming back for more. To keep up with the changing trends, we constantly have to buy more—and we want it at a low price. To give us what we want, the factory workers making our clothing are often exploited and underpaid. (A great book to read for an introduction to this topic is “Overdressed” by Elizabeth L. Cline.)
Why should we care about this?
I think we should care, first, because God has a heart for the downtrodden of society and He has called us to be good neighbors. As Christians, our hearts are being transformed to care about things God cares about. Sourcing our clothes in a more ethical manner is one tiny way we can reflect God’s heart for humanity and care for those being exploited.
God has also called us to be good stewards of the earth. This earth is a gift to us from our loving Creator! Fast fashion often results in a lot of waste—both in the process of making the clothes and when we constantly have to throw out our old clothes to make way for new items.
I’m far from perfect in this area, but shopping secondhand is a great way to source our clothes in a manner that’s good for the environment and good for our neighbor.
When we buy clothes in a sustainable and ethical way (like secondhand shopping!) it’s also a great opportunity to focus on developing a personal style that is totally unique!
For the longest time, I was worried because I couldn’t figure out my style. What I’ve begun to realize is that I don’t have to box myself into one particular style or aesthetic. I can wear whatever makes me feel good, even if it doesn’t fit a particular box or it isn’t particularly on trend.
So go ahead and exercise your God-given creativity with your wardrobe! Part of the reason we love sourcing vintage pieces is that these pieces can be either totally unique and fun, or they’re just great classic pieces to own. But what if you enjoy keeping up with current trends in your personal style? With the rise of online secondhand shopping platforms (like ThredUp and Poshmark), it’s even easier to find items in an array of styles, both current and vintage.
Wildwood Threads started out for me as a way to use my time. But it’s become a way in which I’ve been able to learn more about the world and myself. Whether you decide to shop from us or other secondhand shops, remember to shop thoughtfully and boldly. We don’t have to let others dictate where we shop based on what’s “in.” Instead we can spend our money wisely and have fun in the process.
Sarah Lehman is a hopeful creative living on a farm in the Midwest. When not at work, she enjoys taking photos, sewing, reading, and trying to rap Hamilton lyrics. Wildwood Threads is the microbusiness she started with her sister Krista as a means to sell lovely, affordable vintage pieces. Sarah would love to hear from you on Instagram or you can visit the shop on Etsy.