Thrifting and upcycling: The future of fashion

Reading Time: 2 minutes Secondhand shopping is the eco-friendly way to shop for your summer wardrobe.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vintage, thrifted, upcycled, or secondhand clothing in general has gained a lot of traction and popularity recently. It has been a big few years for old clothes. We’ve all heard the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That saying is true when it comes to secondhand shopping and to finding unique pieces of clothing that match your style. 

The clothing industry is the third largest polluting industry in the world.  The trend cycle moves extremely fast, leaving any unworn or unsold clothing to end up in landfills. These landfills are filled with different clothing textiles and fabrics that do not and will not decompose. This is because most of today’s clothing is made out of synthetic materials that do not decay, and it pollutes the Earth. 

Thrifting and secondhand shopping promote the popular slogan “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” Not only does donating your clothes keep them out of landfills, but shopping secondhand helps the environment by promoting a more ethical way to shop, instead of shopping at fast fashion companies. 

Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from high-end designers and quickly turns them into accessible retail clothing. These clothing pieces go from runways to stores at high speeds to meet the consumer’s demand. The overproduction and overconsumption of these fast fashion garments is what has made the fashion industry one of the world’s largest polluters. Shopping secondhand is a great way to minimize your carbon footprint. 

Popular designer Vivienne Westwood said, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” The first step is to look at the clothes you already own. Try and see if you can fall back in love with some of them, whether that means styling them in a way you haven’t tried or “flipping” them. “Flipping” is turning old clothes into something new. Cut some baggy jeans into shorts for the summer and now you’ve flipped! This can also include the clothes you buy from the thrift store, called a “thrift flip.” If you are extra creative and skilled in sewing, you can bust out the sewing machine, buy clothing dye from the craft store, or even just do a simple hem. There are many ways to add your own personal touch.

As college students, thrifting can be especially beneficial if you want to budget your spending. The clothing is inexpensive and unrepeatable; you just have to search. If you aren’t able to physically shop at the thrift store and essentially have a treasure hunt. There are many options to thrift from the comfort of your home. Apps such as Depop, eBay and thredUP all are accessible options for online secondhand shopping.