Navigating the world of sustainable fashion is a tricky job for the environmentally conscious teenager. Fast fashion is cute and cheap, but most of us probably don’t want to contribute to the 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide that the fashion industry releases every year. However, buying sustainably can be expensive, and it’s hard to tell if brands are actually eco-friendly. We can all agree that trying to shop for clothes ethically is hard, but luckily, there seems to be a solution - thrifting! Here are some tips on how to be conscious while buying second hand.
1. Shift to Thrift
You may be wondering how you can shop more consciously. Nobody can deny that there is a certain thrill that comes with buying new clothes, which makes it easy to be tempted by the cheap and neverending options of the fast fashion industry. Thrifting not only offers the excitement of shopping, but it also provides a sustainable and equally cost-effective alternative to inexpensive and unethical clothes. Replacing your fast-fashion habit with buying used goods is an efficient and practical way to cut down on your carbon footprint.
2. Thrift Responsibly
When thrifting, consider how it might affect those in low-income neighborhoods. Ask yourself questions like “am I taking away resources from communities that may need these clothes more than I do?” When thrifting, be conscious that access to clothing choices can have a huge impact on someone’s life. Small things such as professional attire could make or break a job interview. Before you buy, consider whether someone else may need a particular item more than you.
3. Don’t overbuy
While thrifting is a cheap and sustainable way to shop, buying in bulk can become an issue. Apps such as Depop and Poshmark encourage reselling large quantities of thrifted clothes for profit. Resale can be an excellent way to provide access to clothing to people who might not otherwise get the opportunity to buy them, but there is a fine line to walk. It begs the question, “how much is too much?” Overbuying becomes an issue when one person stocks up on in-demand items like winter coats or work clothes. This could potentially hurt those who buy these types of clothes not as fashion but as a necessity. It’s more beneficial to your community to only buy what you need or will wear.
Combat overbuying and mitigate your fast-fashion habit by re-donating your unused clothes! Donating your clothes is an easy way not only to support thrift stores but also the environment. Giving your used garments to thrift stores will support the business of that store, which allows more people to access their affordable prices. By giving your clothing a second home, you avoid contributing to 87% of clothing that ends up in landfills. Additionally, when you donate your clothing you can start a cycle of reuse.
Shopping at thrift stores is not only more sustainable, it’s also a fun way to express your style. Happy thrifting!