If you love the environment, and high fashion at an affordable price, the Second Nature Boutique might just be for you. The Second Nature Boutique is one of Toronto’s original consignment stores. The boutique has been open for over 40 years. And, according to owner Kary Dick  the boutique “offers a fun and relaxed environment for shoppers to enjoy the finest luxuries for only a fraction of retail, while allowing consignors to receive a profitable return for what’s hidden in their closets”. The boutique is also well loved in their local community , where they have been very well received.

Also, beyond their environmental focus and great service, this boutique also boasts a fascinating back story. The boutique was opened in 1974 by Kary’s mom, Ruth Silverberg. As a single mom with four children Ruth was ahead of her time. She came up with the idea for her business at a time when recycling was not that accepted. However, she felt strongly that “there was a need for women to afford luxury clothing without breaking the bank”. She also believed that “clothing really established how a woman felt”.

Ruth was also eager to set up shop in the family friendly Davisville and Mt. Pleasant community. Though it was not a robust community when she opened her boutique, she felt that the community would grow overtime. She was apparently right, because the community and her business are both thriving. And, thanks to her daughter, after 40 years the Second Nature Boutique continues to provide support to women, the community and the environment. And, this matters!


We can enjoy fashion, but we must also shop consciously if we value “our” environment (i.e. shopping at stores like the Second Nature Boutique )! Our clothes – and shopping choices – has a direct impact on our environment. In fact, the process of making clothes requires the use of vast amounts of water and carbon, which produces waste by products that end up in our environment (as does our clothes eventually).

There is a large body of research that shows the negative impact that our clothes is having on our environment . As an example, in 2011 the UK non-profit Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released their ‘Valuing our clothes’ report, which provided a staggering “look at the financial and environmental aspects of the whole journey of all clothing; from raw material, to manufacture, purchase, use and disposal”. In this report WRAP also shared the following recommendations for respecting our clothes and the environment:

  •  There is value in extending the active life we get from our clothes: If we increased active use by just nine months, we could reduce our water, carbon and waste impacts by between 20%-30%, and reduce costs by around £5 billion.
  • There are benefits to be had at every stage of the life of our clothes, and not just once they arrive in the hands of the consumer:  There are opportunities for change in the sourcing and fibre treatment stages, through to manufacture and production.
  • Tips for extending life cycle of clothing: For example, we can extend the life of our unwanted clothing by passing them to others, via auction sites like Ebay, through Freecycle, charity shops, a ‘swishing party’ or with the help of the M&S ‘shwopping’ initiative.
  • Recycling is important: Even when items are no longer wearable or repairable, there are still commercial opportunities as textiles have a strong market value (currently around £400 a tonne) and can find new life in a range of industries from mining to motor manufacture!

Other information related to this topic:


One thought on “Respecting Fashion and the Environment

  1. This is a great shop one of my favourites. I recently read how much water is consumed in dyeing of fabrics – we are what we wear!


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