Opinion: thrifting is a fun and Eco friendly alternative to retail shopping
Why should we choose thrifting over retail shopping?
Some big brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Converse, GAP, Walmart and Nike practice unethical labour. When we buy new cloths from department stores, the money we spend helps oiling a giant money of an industry or paying the underpaid workers in foreign countries. But every time we buy a used, second hand garment, the demand for new clothing production is pushed down. This is benefiting for many reasons, the biggest one being that clothing production is very taxing on the environment. The 21st century cloths are usually made up of synthetic materials. They take up a lot of energy, uses petroleum and harms the environment as they give out toxic gases and the by products are toxic chemicals.
After the cloths are made they need to be delivered halfway across the world to get to their intended buyers. Factor in transportation-related pollution, and these clothes are racking up quite a carbon footprint.
Since the cloths we buy in thrift stores were once in circulation, so by the time we buy them, they are in their used condition. Hence, in a way they are no longer part of the current corrupt industry that created them. The only negative effect to factor in is the transportation-related pollution from the original owner bringing them to the thrift store. However, in the grand scheme of everything, this is insignificant.
Seconds hand shops
When it comes to secondhand shops, whether they are local vintage stores or organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, the biggest satisfaction that comes is that can sleep easy knowing exactly where our money has gone. Even if we are to buy an expensive Ralph Lauren shirt, the money we invest on it goes directly to the store, not the company that unethically produced the piece of clothing.
Both Goodwill and The Salvation Army’s business models alone are a great reason to support the secondhand business. They provide work to the homeless, unemployed and disabled. Plus, secondhand clothing would go to landfills if these mediums didn’t exist, adding to the piles of food, paper, plastics and other non-recyclable items because our world is full of rich people who would rather throw the few times worn piece of clothing instead of donating it or rather putting it to a good use at least.
Thrifting has had great positive impacts on impulsive shoppers, specially the college going crowd who need a variety of cloths every now and then but they don’t have enough funds to afford it. At Goodwill, blouses are around $3.99 each. At any other local thrift store like The Purple Cow, a high-quality winter coat for less than $10! (Yes I found it!)
LSU’s “Your Friend’s Closet” event Sunday in the 4-H Mini Barn was a prime example of this trend making its way onto campus. Baton Rouge locals donated used designer and vintage clothing to sell and raise money for the LSU Textile and Costume museum.
Among my finds were a cute 1970s striped mini dress, a sweater vest and a pair of Doc Martin shoes all for only $16. Lucky much? Oh yes. And you could be too!
The biggest reason for me is thrift stores are the perfect places to find the funniest and most comfortable clothing at a really cheap price! These clothes have most likely been washed hundreds of time so there is absolutely no need to worry about itchiness, shrinking or bleeding colors. They come from all eras of time, almost classic and vintage and they’re cheap so you can cut them up and sew them and never feel guilty about it.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t dove head first into the world of affordable and fun thrifting to take the plunge and with ye treasure you tend to find in there, I promise you won’t look back.
In recent years, the trend of resurrection of old cloths which were once worn by our parents in their youth has immensely grown. Unlike earlier times, now second hand clothing attracts more people as it is a practical choice as well as it is easy on pocket.