Thrift culture has been rolling back into pop culture in a way that could never have been imagined. This heavily contrasts with the stigma that few decades ago accompanied second-hand clothing (i.e. thrift). Notwithstanding the recent wave of thrift fashion, there is still an element of stigmatization that comes with buying and wearing [or using] thrift items. For instance, many still think of thrifted items to be designed for only low-income populations. Many thus wonder: “why shop thrift if you could afford the brand-new pair of jeans from your favorite large apparel shop?” And for many still the image or impression created from wearing a second-hand clothing is not an appealing one since the clothing may not be a visibly name brand or trendy. But spoiler alert… there are so many ways one could make thrift clothing trendy and we discuss that in a later article. If we would push beyond this stigma, there would be a need for a narrative that encapsulates the whole essence of thrift fashion and why we should rethink thrift.
I, myself, have depended so much on thrifting as a kid and even now as a young adult but for completely different reasons. I have evolved and my perspective about thrifting has changed as a result. As a kid, my reliance on thrift was primarily driven by purely economic reasons. Coming from a low-income household, second-hand goods became handy. So, I can relate to the poverty stigma associated with these items. However, I currently have financial or economic privileges that puts me in a position to be able to completely forego thrifting. Here is where my evolution comes in. Beyond the economic or financial advantages of thrift, there are equally other more important benefits of thrift. I have selected my top two benefits of thrift that should make you normalize thrift fashion, irrespective of your economic privileges.
Decrease dependency on sweat-shop economy
The Rana plaza unfortunate collapse exposed the heavy reliance of fast fashion on the sweat-shop economy. Indeed, that economy only exists because of fast fashion. I don’t purport to have a simple answer to a very complex issue of addressing the sweat-shop economy. However, it only follows from common sense that if the level of production for new items reduces, with time the sweat-shop economy will shrink.
Thrifting is good for the planet
In my previous article on why thrifting is thriving, I argue about why the threat of climate change should serve as a catalyst to normalizing thrift fashion. If ever has been a time the planet needs our is now. We have the capacity and the wherewithal to step in and change. It is estimated that about more than 50 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide every year, and 75% or more of these pieces will end up in landfills making fashion the third most polluting industry on the planet. A little tweak of our consumption habit goes a long way. Normalizing thrift fashion apparently is not only good for our looks, it is also good for the planet – less clothing ends up in landfills.
Switching to thrift will not solve all of these problems, but at least it is a step in the right direction – it is a goodwill. I know you perhaps have your own reasons why you feel, and think should make us normalize thrift fashion and rid it off the stigma. I would be more than happy to see you comment in the comments section about your own thrifting experience and your journey moving past the stigma.