Vintage pop-ups connect to the environment

The younger generations continue to embrace ‘pre-loved’ clothes over fast-fashion brands.

In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of vintage pop-up shops in Dublin. Generation Z and millennials have been at the forefront of many shops’ booming success. 

One such pop-up business is Kilogarm. It sells pre-loved clothes, ranging in date from the 1960s up to the 2000s. These events take place all over the country, and they are sold by the kilo. 

Now, what could you get for a kilo? You can buy a jacket and jeans, a T-shirt and jeans, or a pair of shoes and a shirt. The Kilogarm shop started their venture in the small hub of Eatyard, Bernard Shaw, in Drumcondra, Dublin 9. They now have some of their events in As One in City Quay, as well as the Morrison Hotel. Their locations aren’t permanent, so they frequently move around Dublin. The only shop which has a permanent fixture is their shop located in Abbey Street, Cavan.

According to the World Economic Forum, the most sustainability-focused generations are Generation Z and millennials. 62% of Gen Z like to shop sustainably, with millennials following closely behind with 60%. The difference between the two is that Gen Z is 75% more likely to pay more money for products or clothes if they are sustainable and/or homemade. 

A worker at the pop-up event, Caoilfhionn Nic Giolla Cearra, said, “I believe people who come to these events are very sustainable conscious. A lot of them would hit up charity shops and other vintage pop-ups in the area. They are outspoken about how dangerous fast fashion is for the environment and how many clothes end up in landfills each year. So, we all try to do our bit in keeping them out of it.” 

The public is encouraged to buy new clothes each time a designer or brand comes out with a new spring, summer, or winter collection. Most of these clothes never end up being sold, and they are used to fill up the countless landfills in our country. The major landfills in Ireland are in Ballyogan and Ballynagran. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report for Ireland compiling all the data from 2021 to 2022 on Ireland’s waste. The figures for 2023 have yet to be released. In the report, they recounted that Ireland’s biggest landfill filler was textile clothing, at a whopping 73%, and that a close second is our electronic equipment, which accounted for 16,800 metric tonnes each year. 

The vintage pop-up and sustainable clothes market has begun to become quite interesting to big corporations, which have a hand in fast fashion and the clothes that fill our landfills each year. It has become quite a saturated industry now, as it’s hard to tell which is genuine and which is a money grab. 

The manager at Kilogarm, Emma Kelly, said, “It’s tricky. This industry has now become like this very appealing piece of pie, and now all these big businesses want a slice. Not to say not all of them have good intentions, it’s just hard to tell which ones do. You’ve got to break it down to see if they’re really trying to make a good start, or if it’s just a marketing move of their tags on clothes saying they’re sustainable, when really the only thing that sustainable is the cardboard tag on the clothes.” 

The term ‘greenwashing’ has been created for calling out companies that present their information to the public in a way that makes the consumer believe their products are sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

There have been some big brand names who have been called out for greenwashing in recent years, and the most notable is Volkswagen. Volkswagen admitted to falsifying tests on their cars by fitting them with a detection device, which would detect when they were undergoing an emissions test and so come up with a desired result. 

Volkswagen is just one example of the many companies that have been exposed for lying to the public about their plans for a greener environment. Hopefully, all of these companies will take their responsibilities to the environment more seriously in future.

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