The Thrifting “Trend”: Is It Actually Worth it?

During these tough times, I found myself filling my seemingly never-ending free time with one of two things: going on tiktok or going to my local thrift store. And to my surprise, thrifting is now becoming a new “trend” among teenagers and young adults. In fact, during my most recent trip to Goodwill, I found the store flooded with teenagers browsing the racks in order to get great deals on adorable finds. Most fads tend to fade out, but as a long-time thrifter, I believe that shopping second-hand is a great affordable and sustainable alternative to fast fashion, which is killing our planet.


One of the main reasons why thrifting is very popular right now is because of the low clothing prices. Some of my successes during my thrifting journey include getting a  high quality leather jacket for 20 dollars, an adorable Lucky Brand top that was originally $75 for only 5 bucks and–possibly my favorite so far–my junior prom dress. It was a never-worn $200 designer Betsey Johnson and I only paid $20.00 for it! Since thrifting is so affordable, it is a great option to build your closet up on a budget.  There are always basics and statement pieces in stock, and all you have to do is know where to look.


It is also important to thrift in order to be more sustainable when it comes to fashion. For people looking for affordable clothes, some go to brands known as being a part of the fast fashion industry. These stores include Forever 21, H&M, and the TikTok phenomenon, SHEIN. These brands constantly make and sell low quality clothes very cheaply.  This leads to people buying more clothes, but also those buyers quickly discard their purchases since these items can only be worn a handful of times.  Then they buy more cheap clothes, perpetuating the wasteful cycle. Fast fashion is a direct cause of pollution as the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world.


One great thing about thrifting is that people donate their new or used items if they don’t want them. This cycle of donating clothing and buying used items goes against the fast fashion cycle, making the fashion industry a little more sustainable.


With all of that being said, many people criticize thrifting, as it originally was used only to help those from lower income brackets who relied on it so they could provide clothing for themselves and their families inexpensively. I definitely do agree that this new trend can be hurting those in lower income areas. When I went to a thrift store during the summer, the store was so crowded that not only was I concerned for my safety (pandemic!), but I could not look through the racks because all of the teenage shoppers  were taking every item in sight. An aspect that is possibly detrimental is that an increase in sales could lead to an increase in prices — the law of supply and demand — which does not benefit any of the people in the thrifting world.


However, second-hand shopping benefits everyone involved. Not only does it make the world more sustainable and provide great options for those in a lower income bracket, but it also supports the thrift stores themselves. Most thrift stores such as Goodwill are nonprofit organizations and frequently donate to charity, as well as hire many people with disabilities. In order to help make thrifting better for everyone, it is important to donate your clothes, too, to help continue the cycle of sustainability.


While thrifting is currently a trend, it should really be a fashion staple. Not only is it great for fashionistas, but the benefits of thrifting are truly wonderful–and what a rush it is to find great deals! So next time you want to go on a shopping spree, make a point to stop by the Goodwill, first, instead of the Gap.


Image source-

https://www.34st.com/article/2018/10/build-your-fall-and-winter-wardrobe-at-these-thrift-shops

Sustainable Fashion is Not Just the Latest Trend

Sustainable Fashion is Not Just the Latest Trend

Surprising ways that your choices contribute to the deterioration of our planet and encourage unethical practices.

Every day in the United States, people throw away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. More than 15 million tons of textile waste is produced and placed in landfills each year in the United States alone. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2018) The fashion industry is the second largest industry contributing to the destruction of the environment following closely behind the oil industry. 

 

Fast fashion is one of the world’s primary polluters, which has led to a massive movement and interest in creating sustainable apparel and footwear. Producing clothing and footwear has been taking a toll on our environment for decades and finding a way to reverse the effects is a global concern. The task of making quality and fashionable products without further harming the environment, while still propelling the fashion industry has become a challenge. 

Picture Creds: https://wtvox.com/fashion/what-is-sustainable-fashion-a-guide-for-consumers-and-brands/

Especially as college students, we are compelled to purchase the newest on-trend pieces at the lowest prices, so we look to online stores such as Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, and Forever 21. These companies are banking off of our low-income budgets and are producing these clothes that will not last for our instant gratification. We have to understand that this is not a sustainable lifestyle, and we cannot go on purchasing clothing so quickly without thinking about the process involved and the resources it takes to make these garments. 

 

Little steps to properly carefor your clothes includes following labels to make sure they last (e.g. using cold water when we wash our clothes) and trying to hang dry as many garments as we can. When purchasing new clothes, I think that people should utilize second-hand shopping. Whether it is online or retail stores such as Goodwill, by giving clothes a second life, we can still be happy with a new piece for our closet while also being mindful of the planet. If you are looking for a specific garment and are unsuccessful with this method of shopping, then I think it is essential to be aware of the stores you purchase your clothes from and do research before buying. It is necessary to know how the companies manufacture their clothes, where they do so, and what fibers are used. As consumers, we need to think about our purchasing decisions and if we need these items or if they are to give us joy for a short moment. Clothing is essential, but we cannot destroy the place we call home. 

Picture Creds: https://hubbub.org/p/sustyclub/

Environment and Ethics in the Fashion Industry

Environment and Ethics in the Fashion Industry

Environmental issues are extremely important in today’s society. Recycling, conserving water, and saving energy are all great ways to be conscious, but the fashion industry- on a manufacturing and consumer based level- has a major impact on the environment as well. Clothing production and certain fabrics have damaging effects on the environment; the industry is the “second biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions” (UN Environment). Additionally, fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon release plastic into oceans, which is eventually consumed by living things.

Photo credit https://pin.it/ekkqu4er5ger52

With the rise of sustainable companies like The Little Market, Vitamin A Swim, Outdoor Voices, and Patagonia, the controversy and conversation surrounding the ethics of clothing companies has increased. The United Nations Environmental Assembly recently launched the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion in order to encourage a more ethical and sustainable industry. Other agencies have also taken action by creating programs such as Blue Fashion and The Ethical Fashion Initiative, which promote sustainable production of clothing.

Photo credits https://www.thelittlemarket.com/pages/values

Carbon emissions, water consumption, and materials used to produce clothing are not the only issues rooted in non-sustainability. The fashion industry can provide jobs for artisans and farmers. Providing these opportunities to victims of violence, people living in marginalized communities and areas of poverty and hardship allows the individuals to develop a variety of skills. This is not only an opportunity for a job; it is an opportunity to create a new path. Ensuring safe work conditions and fair pay is also a major component of an ethical industry.

Photo credit https://pin.it/liblzei45r6lib

Raising awareness of the impact that the fashion industry has on the environment will help advance the efforts toward producing and purchasing clothing in a conscious way. Consumers can make a difference by researching companies, production methods, and taking simple steps such as purchasing less but high quality clothing. By joining the sustainability movement, the fashion industry can help facilitate a healthier planet and empowerment for workers on a larger level.

Photo credit https://pin.it/d4mnhzen2ifrvp

Business Success Through Sustainability: Patagonia’s Glory in Retail and Environmental Conservation

Patagonia is a go-to for many college students. Relaxed, easy-going merchandise is offered for men and women, and the brand’s emphases in staying active and spending leisure time outdoors attracts a wide range of customers. 

 

Patagonia seems to have it all – the name brand, millions of followers on Instagram, appealing apparel, ad an exciting lifestyle. Activewear brands like the North Face and Columbia have these as well. But what activewear companies lack is involvement in sustainability like Patagonia has.

Many retailers target younger consumers. Today’s millennials push for conserving nature, and since Patagonia’s mission statement corresponds with their value of environmental awareness, consumers feel more inclined to invest the money in the middle-tier merchandise. Patagonia’s mission statement reiterates the clothing company’s belief that the solution to “limit ecological impacts is with goods that last for generations or can be recycled so the materials in them remain in use [and] [m]making the best product matters for saving the planet.” Patagonia acts on its mission statement through active involvement in collaborating with environmental organizations and selling of used merchandise on its website Worn Wear.

1% of Patagonia’s sales goes towards environmental organizations that restore and protect natural life. In addition to offering monetary donations through its membership in 1% For the Planet, Patagonia Action Works connects environmentalists to groups involved with promoting sustainability.

Patagonia’s blog The Cleanest Line focuses content on active life and sustainability. The Cleanest Line is another creative outlet for Patagonia to reach customers and, once again, prove the company’s devotion to helping the environment.


Consistent brand imaging and attractive merchandise can only take a company so far. Helping problems relevant to the current time and place add more layers to success, and public awareness of this involvement brings more business in the long run.


Author: Sarah Carlson