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Thrifting: What Is It and Why Should We?

Updated: Jun 15


Cotton T-shirts

The fashion industry is estimated to have doubled its production annually since 2000. In 2014, the fashion industry exceeded 100 billion articles produced! Can you imagine the waste? Well, this industry is estimated to waste 92 million tons of textile per year.


But the fashion industry does not only produce textile waste.


Water, crops, and land are required to obtain the material needed—and the fashion industry is known to exploit these resources. Did you know that to make one pair of jeans requires 8000 liters of water? Pesticides for material crops, such as cotton, is also believed to have their detrimental impact on the environment. The fashion industry also uses a massive amount of energy, requiring more power than both the aviation and shipping industry combined! BBC writes that “the fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions!”


So, is there anything we can do about it?


We could all start by being sustainable and supporting sustainable and ethical fashion brands to choose B corporation certified brands. You could read more about the sustainable lifestyle here—but that’s not all you can do!


Thrifting is another way you can be more sustainable and conscious!


But what is it exactly, and why should we?



Well, thrifting, or thrift shopping, is essentially the act of purchasing pre-loved or second-hand items. These items usually are sold in thrift shops, which are derived from the word thrift shopping!


Many of the fabrics used in the fashion industry are synthetic, such as polyester, spandex, and nylon. These materials are non-biodegradable and require at least 20 to 200 years to degrade! (P.S. spandex material is one of the least sustainable fabrics used in the fashion industry. We still don’t know how long it takes for this material to degrade!) Don’t forget about how the fashion industry exploits our resources!


The Fashion Revolution mentions that “in a landfill, the decomposing clothes release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and lycra can take hundreds of years to biodegrade.”


We can now see the importance of thrifting. By buying second-hand items, we can lessen our contribution to this environmental issue. Plus, we can also reduce our carbon footprints—and that’s not all!


By thrifting, you would also be saving money!


Second-hand items are known to be cheaper. Their prices adjust to the item’s quality, and clothes sell from $10 to $50 each. However, there may be exceptions to this. Items from known brands with good quality usually sell for a higher price. But, these prices would often still be much lower than the original!


The Spirited Thrifter writes, “I bought a total of 218 pieces for $1341.23 which works out at an average cost of $6.15 per piece.” However, she also mentioned that she spends $1000 for an average of 180 pieces!


Imagine all the money you could save and channel to other necessities!


Thrifting would also challenge you to experiment with your fashion. What you find in thrift stores may not be exactly what you expect. However, this is also an opportunity to find unique pieces! Trendy is an abstract concept. The trend is ever-changing, and many of us are trying to find our style to express ourselves. Well, thrifting is the perfect occasion for you to start this transformation!


However, remember to thrift responsibly.


Be a smart and vigilant thrifter, which includes not buying heavy winter clothes if someone less fortunate may rely on these items to survive.


Remember to buy your secondhand clothes at stores that do not mark up their prices too high! Increasing the price may lead to the whole market increasing the minimum selling price. This increase would mean that those who were relying on the lower prices of thrift clothes may not afford it anymore.


You should be able to determine the average cost you can expect from the prices we mentioned!


Thrifting also ‘trains’ us to change our shopping habits. Thrifting can change the pattern of blindly picking ten items that we liked at first glance! We tend to consider and reconsider the material, the durability, and the style of the clothes when thrifting. This change will increase our awareness of our decisions and their consequences. We would be encouraged to tick off a few pros and cons and our standard quality check before buying a new item. Being a vigilant thrifter is also a way to be a responsible buyer!



So, what are you waiting for? A sustainable lifestyle can start from thrifting! There are so many benefits for both us and the environment, but remember always to be vigilant and responsible!


Stay tuned to learn more about thrifting!


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