Although charity shops had existed for over 60 years, the trend of secondhand shopping has
never been as high as it is in the past decade. However, thrifting used to have a bad
connotation to it, as the most consumer would not consider paying for used clothing when they
can purchase new garments for the same price or maybe even cheaper.
Now thanks to the rising awareness of sustainability in fashion, secondhand shopping is now considered to be ‘cool’ and more importantly it became the alternative to fast fashion.
Since the rise of fast fashion in the 1990s, fast fashion has become normalized that we do not
realize how damaging it is to our society and community. Unknown to most, Fashion is the
second most environmentally damaging industry, contributing to polluting the water, air, and
soil. One of the main factors that cause this huge pollution is the overproduction of the fashion
items and the short-lasting life cycle.
So how can secondhand shopping contribute towards saving the environment?
The saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ can be applied in this situation. According to a study by huffpost.com , an average American would throw away approximately 36kg of clothing
per year. Now imagine how much clothing will end up on the landfill as unrecycled waste if all
those thrown away clothes are not being reused. Instead of going to landfills, clothing can be
kept in circulation in order to find a new owner through thrifting. To add, the making of a new
garment, includes the process of chemical dying, logistics and other activities that cause
pollutions. With fast fashion usually manufacturing their garments from third world countries
and then shipping them all across the globe. Hence by thrifting, we are reducing our carbon
footprint and it is the easiest way to recycle a garment.
Besides the environmental issue, secondhand shopping also helps improve the way we
function as a society, as most secondhand shops are supporting charitable causes. Instead of
giving our money to big corporation companies, that most of the time underpay their workers,
by shopping secondhand, we are supporting small businesses. So in a way, the amount of
money you’re paying goes back to your community.
Although it surely won’t solve the massive problems we have in the fashion industry, thrifting
is a small step we can take towards becoming a more sustainable community. That being said,
secondhand shopping should not just merely be a trend, but it should be part of our lifestyle for
a better future.(Edna Nathalie)