A Cork teenager who used the last of his savings to purchase several kilos of clothes made decades ago is so far loving the experience of being a young entrepreneur.
Seventeen-year-old Sam Doughty has set up his own vintage clothing business, Splash, in a bid to fight back against fast fashion, which sees millions of tonnes of clothing discarded each year.
The Leaving Cert student said the 15kgs of vintage clothes from the US he bought has been “the best purchase I’ve ever made.”
Speaking to Cork Beo, Sam said: “If I was just swamped with doing the Leaving Cert it would be so depressing.
“I’m looking to do sales and marketing or accounting in college – but this is my little parachute if it all goes wrong!”
Sam explained how his venture into the fashion industry began last year with the creation of tie-dye t-shirts.
“They didn’t prove to be that popular but I made my money back for all the equipment,” he laughed.
Inspired by the recent surge in popularity of vintage clothing, Sam decided to turn his attention to pre-loved clothing and played with the idea of selling second-hand items.
“My Instagram page started to grow and get more followers, and I was trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t as it grew,” he said.
When Sam started working in Prime Time in Cork city, he started to learn from customers and fed it back into his research.
“I figured out that people were buying durable clothes that were made to last,” he said.
“So I decided to just do it. I was sitting at home, I’d burned through nearly all my savings but I said ‘let’s do it’, there’s no point in just sitting around.
“I used what was left of my savings to get some clothes over, and I haven’t looked back.”
According to Oxfam Ireland, half a tonne of clothing every minute is dumped into a landfill in the country.
“Everyone wants to help the environment and everyone wants to be unique in what they wear – buying vintage is the best way to achieve both of those things,” said Sam.
“The fast fashion industry is creating terrible clothes, they’re not good quality. You own them for a year and then they’re useless – the stitching is starting to fray and they’ve stretched and everything.
“The clothes that were made years ago are much better quality, it’s probably one of the best substitutes we have for this waste problem.
“All the past generation’s styles keep coming back,” he continued. “We’re seeing corduroy back in the shops, and all these types of things we haven’t seen in twenty years.
“It keeps on being rehashed and rejigged and it’s coming back. You might as well buy the real-deal because it’s there, still in circulation”
Sam started selling items on his Instagram in recent days, saying: “It’s one of the biggest purchases I’ve ever made. People are going to love them, you’re getting affordable clothes that are good quality and dependable.”