Photo by Howard Lake
The following is an excerpt from Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion (2012, Portfolio/Penguin) by Elizabeth L. Cline
Since the end of the 19th century in both Europe and the United States, philanthropic groups have been involved in the collection and distribution of clothes to the poor. The Salvation Army started up in the United States in 1870, at a time when the U.S. population was less than 40 million and almost all clothing was still handmade. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that charities opened retail outlets, and their income began to come primarily from the sale of used clothing. Charitable clothing donations from that point were used indirectly, by first selling clothes and then using the proceeds to fund charitable works. This is how clothing donations function today.