Johnson: To thrift or not to thrift, that is the question

Thrift shopping offers many benefits over fast fashion

Grace Johnson, Staff Columnist

Thrifting, which used to be viewed as low-brow and gross, is a growing and evolving movement among American youth. It is cheaper, promotes individualism, supports small businesses and, most importantly, aids in saving the environment, as fast fashion is incredibly detrimental to our world.

The fashion industry causes 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. It’s also the second-largest consumer of water in the world. So often, we discuss the detrimental effects of things like airplanes and cars, vying for electric vehicles and more fuel efficiency, while wearing American Eagle jeans off the rack and brand new Nike Air Force 1’s. We need to be more cognizant of other causes of environmental degradation. 

Fast fashion is easy, yes, but a little bit of time and energy spent at the thrift store seems easier than trying to fix the ozone layer when we have no polar ice caps left and the seas have started boiling. 

Taking the time to thrift provides an opportunity to find unique pieces. Thrifting promotes a larger sense of individualism when the things you wear are vintage pieces, no longer made, with a history and deeper meaning. 

Developing an individual style is difficult when the majority of clothing looks the same and caters to a certain audience. If you aren’t part of that audience, it can be difficult to express yourself the way you want. Clothing is the way we introduce and present ourselves to the rest of the world; it is an extension of self and a sneak peak into who we are.

Buying clothing individual to your interests and style in stores that support a small business owner or nonprofit seems like the perfect avenue to take. For college students like us, who have crippling student loans, thrift stores are significantly cheaper than buying brand-new. 

It is a feasible way for those of us short on cash to save some money, while also treating ourselves to a hard- and well-earned treat. Few things promote more self-confidence than clothing you feel comfortable and attractive in. Why not do it in an individualized and cost-effective way?

It never feels good to pump money into corporations who give little to no thought about their treatment of employees or where and how they obtain their products. It is much more fulfilling for the consumer to be directly helping an individual make it in the world. In this, it also boosts the local economy and produces revenue for the community as a whole. 

To be clear, I am no angel. I buy my fair share of Levi’s jeans and Eddie Bauer flannels, but I think it is important to remember that thrifting is a viable alternative to supporting big business and the issues therein. 

There are so many positives and possibilities with thrift shopping, as the potential for unique finds is truly endless. Part of the fun of it is the mystery that surrounds it, as you never really know what you’re going to leave the store with. 

Thrift shopping helps the environment, promotes individualism, aids independent and small business owners, and boosts the economy of individual communities. If you need one, here is your invitation to explore local thrift stores. 

As Macklemore so eloquently put, “That shirt’s hella dope/And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t.”

Put twenty dollars in your pocket and go pop some tags. 

Go thrift shopping.