Since graduating high school and beginning college, I have put mostly all my pennies to school, which makes it hard when I want to switch up my wardrobe. My solution to switching up my wardrobe, thrifting, soon became a passion that was then attached to a purpose. I love the scavenger hunt of finding the treasure. I love saving my money and helping reduce waste in the fashion industry.
Fast fashion is expensive for our planet (article on FF)! We send 13 trillion tons of clothes to land fills a year and only 10% of clothes are resold after being purchased. The fashion industry puts thousands of chemicals into the air and uses thousands of gallons of water through the production of clothes. Fast fashion is wasteful.
I choose to thrift because I love shopping, but I have a budget that leaves little to no money for clothes. Shopping is fun, but thrifting is an adventure in the sense that you really have to dig and search for pieces that not only fit your style, but also fit your body properly.
I love having quirky pieces that no one else has in their closet. It put the fun back in shopping for me, plus I love knowing that I step away with a great piece at a great price. This past year, I have also began to take a step toward ethical fashion and the concept of a capsule closet (limiting your closet to 30 pieces of clothing).
Thrifting is an excellent way to promote ethical fashion because by thrifting you are choosing to step away from fast fashion (the idea that you buy a piece of really trendy, really cheap, and really poor quality and wear it a few times and then throw it away).
So, thrifting may not be for you.
If you like the idea of new pieces that haven't been worn or have a hard time finding the clothes that fit your style, then there are so many ways to thrift.
First of all, there are so many local places like Potter's House (my favorite because I only shop the 50 cent items..pure gold), Goodwill, Salvation Army, and many more thrift stores that support ministries or animal shelters.
Second of all, and this may blow your mind, there are actually online stores that you can find used clothes at thrift store prices. These clothes range from new with tags to barely worn. You can shop on these apps and websites: Poshmark, Vinted, Depop or ThredUp and you can find pieces that fit your style from the comfort of your couch.
Thrifting may not be for you, but it is always worth a shot. Sometimes I walk in to the thrift store and browse around for an hour or two and I find nothing. While thrifting, you have to be selective of the pieces that you chose. When in doubt pick out the basics! I search for everything, but I mostly stick to staple pieces. I pick out turtle necks, sweaters, tees, jeans, and button-downs.
Shopping ethical creates change.
Not only are you actively opting out of the vicious cycle of consumerism, but you are supporting the thrift store. Most thrift stores support larger causes. Salvation Army helps fight hunger, spread the gospel, and clothe the needy. Goodwill helps provide local jobs in your community. I have only named two larger thrift stores and there are many more. Potters House, a local thrift store in Arkansas, shows a diagram of where your money goes in their ministry.
When you put your money towards thrifting you are advocating for slow fashion.
Slow fashion can look like wearing your clothes until they are worn out or donating/second-hand selling/repurpose. Slow fashion can look like buying most of your clothes from thrift stores. Slow fashion can look like shopping at Everlane, Sugar Candy Mountain, Tradlands, and other ethical stores. Slow fashion can look like a lot of things, but it doesn't have to look like forking out ten loans to buy that $200 shirt to say you shopped ethical. Hey, if that is your budget and preference then swing it.
I am passionate about ethical fashion. I think that in America we retreat on this idea that we can just buy another ______. That is not the reality that a lot of us live in. If you cannot buy clothes that are ethical, then buy clothes that are used. They have already lived their life with someone else and you give the piece of clothing a new purpose. A lot of the time when I hear or see ethical fashion, I think expensive. Most of the clothes that you can but that promote ethical fashion are VERY EXPENSIVE for a college student; range from $70-$200 per item. It just doesn't work.
So, Lea, what if I hate all my clothes?
Oh, don't worry, because I have been there. I really have. This past fall, I had no money and no jeans! I sold a couple of shirts on Poshmark and then I took my $5 and went to the thrift store and found two pair of jeans that would work until I could figure things out!
If you don't love the pieces in your closet, then you can donate them or sell them. Save that money that you made selling the clothes and head to the thrift store and search for some new finds.
Stay tuned in a few days for a full look at my ethical capsule closet! This will preview only my items that are thrifted.
Comment below about your journey with ethical fashion, fast fashion, or thrifting!
till next time,