Out with the old & in with the...old?
Updated: Mar 5
Back in the day when a kid wore secondhand clothing or hand me downs it would be because their family wasn't well off and they couldn't afford to buy new clothes. A lot of people had no other way of shopping and thrift shopping was their only way of purchasing clothing. It was looked down upon or judged by other people in society. Thrift shopping was something that you were dragged into and looked as something dirty and lower class and kids would even be bullied about it. What was once considered to be an anti-fashion movement is not the most popular hip trend in fashion.
Now, in 2020, thanks to instagram influencers, celebrities and youtubers the ancient retail practice has been revived and considered to be unique, edgy, cool and `authentic” and Gen Z and millennial's are considered to adopt this trend 2.5 times faster than boomers and gen Y. Maybe its due to the fact that we have less money than our parents or grandparents or maybe it's because we actually care about purchases and the state of the environment i’ll leave you to be the judge of that and not point my own finger at anyone.
We see online “thrift” retailers popping up on the internet, sites like Ebay (who started the movement in the early baby internet days), Etsy, Vestiaire Collective, Heroine, and Grailed has made it even easier for millennials to consume vintage, thrifted designer clothing more than ever, but why has something that was judged and belittled for so long evolved into becoming a trend that we see every influencer on instagram do? Why has thrift shopping become the “IT” way of purchasing clothing? Well, consider yourself lucky because i have done y’all the honour of listing all the reasons why thrifting has become so popular and why YOU should cut out fast fashion and say hello to the magical world that is thrifting! Yay!
1- Thrifting can be cheap as hell
Well, depending on what you're buying obviously. It's not like you can buy a vintage Hermes for 20 euros. But you can find some pretty amazing deals if you set your mind to it. Keep in mind though, thrifting can consume a lot of your time while you're trying to find the perfect vintage pair of Levi’s. The only thing i would advise however, is to pick where you thrift shop very carefully as some “vintage” places can charge you A LOT for something that isn't even worth it because they know how big of a trend it is to buy vintage. Thrift shopping is like a game and it takes all those gears working in that pretty little head of yours to determine whether or not you've found a good deal or not. If you’re smart, self sufficient and keep an eye open for the best deals this big trend can really help you take care of your bank account. Take it as advice from a financially exhausted fashion student living in Paris, thrift shopping can be your wallets best friend.
2- You can find big brands for the price of a Zara cardigan
Speaking from my own experiences, I have purchased brands such as Max Mara, DKNY, and Marc Jacobs from thrift stores without the nauseating feeling of guilt. Even though it takes a lot of time and shifting through piles of mediocre 80s & 90s clothing it's all worth it when you find the perfect item in the perfect size. It feels like a tiny Christmas but, in order to find we must hunt. It's all about the hunt guys, it's all about the hunt…
3- You’ll find unique stuff no one has
Living in a time where everyone looks like they were manufactured in the same factory, it's always a breath of fresh air to find items that you haven't seen anyone else wear. Often you can enter a thrift store with no idea of what you're looking for and you can discover pieces you never even knew existed, I dont know about you but, weird different items with a personality from the 90s? I kind of need that in my closet.
Its exhilarating, fun and feels like a treasure hunt and the satisfaction of finding something amazing makes you feel like you're one in a million.
4- Its basically ethical consumerism and you’re just recycling
Well, there’s no such thing as “ethical consumerism” under the iron fist of capitalism but we can try our best can't we? Instead of going to fast fashion giants like Zara, H&M, Asos (the list goes on and on... I can go on for days but, I have a limited word count so I'm not gonna do that) who basically overproduce clothing and burn the extras, we can lessen our effect on our world by recycling our own clothes and purchasing thrifted items.
In the last few years (well the last 2 decades if I have to be honest) the amount of clothing that is being produced has skyrocketed while the prices and quality has gone down. According to a study done by the University of California Berkeley, we are buying 4 times more clothing than we used to, but are only spending 17% less because the majority of the clothing we are buying tends to be from fast fashion companies. The clothing is made with cheap quality fabrics and produced unethically and fall apart very easily or they quickly go out of style and are replaced with the next latest trend in a blink of an eye.
Finding ethically-sourced clothing is very hard and usually a lot more expensive than thrifting, so going out and spending some time thrift shopping can actually provide a cheap and ethical new way of looking chiq, unique and fashionable. Recycle or sell the clothing you don't need, this will help eliminate the unnecessary items that are bought from unethically manufacturing fast fashion giants and help build a sustainable cycle of how we purchase our clothing.
5- You're helping Mama Earth
We are producing way more clothing than we actually need and the fashion/textile industry is actually one of the biggest polluting industries: producing just one pair of jeans basically takes up to 1,800 gallons of water and the process of making them also generates greenhouse gases that span roughly 80 miles. Similar numbers can also be applied when we are producing other articles of clothing like jackets and t-shirts. Studies have also shown that a big chunk (60%) of the clothing that is being produced worldwide is made from synthetic fibers (nylon, polyester, acrylic) in other words basically plastic and when thrown away (like we do with half of other clothes each year) sits in landfills for hundreds of years and is very hard to break down.
So instead of buying brand new items each time we need something or want something, how about we just reuse them instead, plus this will help keep plastic away from landfills and destroying our mama earth.