Why do you thrift?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Many years ago, when I started to buy clothing second hand, it was not for moral reasons, nor for the benefit of the environment. I thrifted to grab myself a fashionable bargain, and save a bit of cash. At the same time, I would quite happily buy a brand new item of clothing from any fast fashion high street retail shop, and moan that charity shop prices are equivalent to buying brand new!

Image c/o weheartit

This was before fast fashion unfolded to be more of an unethical practice, with many high street retailers employing under paid workers, quite often children, to sew clothing for a ridiculous low wage. Many people, such as I, are now aware of such working practices, and choose not to buy new clothes in their own effort to protest against high profiting fashion retailers. Some go one step further, such as Edinburgh's Finlay Ross, who protested in front of the Arcadia Tower in Edinburgh back in 2007 (an article found on fashioncrazy.net):

“It is obscene that Topshop CEO Philip Green’s bonus in 2005 was enough to double the wages of the entire Cambodian garment workforce for 8 years! Improving labour standards would clearly not break the bank. We hope our actions will expose this injustice and force the company to make a serious commitment to workers’ rights, such as a living wage and the right to organise in a trade union”.

Protesting students c/o fashioncrazy.net

Lets not forget about our growing landfill problem, with an estimated 30-40kg of clothing per person ending up in landfill every year. *fact from spookmag. With plastic based (polyester) fabric taking many years to decompose; a material quite often associated with fast fashion garments.

A 2005 study by the Australia Institute found $10.5 billion is spent yearly on throwaway fashion. Read more here: news.com.au

Image c/o wikimedia

Having become more environmentally aware, my mindset has changed. I still seek out fashion (and other) items second hand because I enjoy the hunt, and it is rewarding finding something special for small change. I do however, also appreciate that buying second hand really is an ethical, environmentally friendly way of buying 'new' things.

Sure, thrifted clothing will end up in landfill one day, but at least by choosing second hand clothing, the time garments end up in landfill will be be stretched for a while longer. Refashioning damaged or unwanted clothing into new items also delays the necessity to trash fashion.

Readers, a poll for you, why do you buy second hand? Is it to save money? For moral reasons? To save fashion from landfill? Another reason?


nicole said...

as well as all of the above reasons, i find that thrifted clothes are of better quality.
and if they're not, i'm much happier to spend some time making a small repair on something that i know isn't brand new. there's nothing that makes me madder than to buy something brand new and for it to need repairs before i've even had a chance to wear it!

Dogstar Bazaar said...

I enjoy it for all the reasons above and then with a lot of thrift shop buying you are fundraising as well. Your money is going to go back to some organisation helping others and that feeling can't really be got at any fast fashion outlet. I also donate back once I'm done with a lot of items such as toys and books, - guilt free shopping, shopping it forward!!

ANKH said...

This post reminded me of something I heard once:

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."
by Oscar Wilde (I think...)

I grew up shopping second hand mostly for money reasons. When I was a teen, my family was in better financial standing, somewhat, and my sis was miss fashion queen, so we started shopping in first hand stores. By the time I became an adult, I gained such a hatred for shopping that I found myself going to the less crowded thrift stores to be free, save more, and because when I have to modify clothes...I sometimes fail! Who wants to spend 60 bucks on a dress that has to be modified, anyways? Even worse if the modification fails!

ANKH said...

Don't second hand stores make your feel more at home anyways? ;)

Stephanie and Carlos said...

All of the above!! I remember growing up and thrifting was something I only hot to tag along and do when my mum had visitational rights on the week end. It was so special and i always felt spoilt. Now i take my kids 3 ti es a week and they love it and jump at the chnce... Park or treasure shop kids... TREASURE SHOP come the response from all 3 of them!! Love it!!

Xo Steph

Nelly said...

All the above for me

April said...

I like thrifting not only for all of the reasons listed but because the size totally doesn't matter because who knows what has been altered and how they shrunk in the wash or how big or small a brand runs. It's so liberating not to look at a number but just judge based on the physical dimensions of the garment. And also the clothes are better quality for super cheap, and you know no one else will have it!


Erica Louise said...

Readers, thank you so much for your comments, it is great to get your feedback, and thanks for voting on my poll. There are so many good reasons to thrift, and wonderful to know so many people buy second hand.

Mandi @ make it dear said...

I love finding unique items at great prices mostly :)

gml said...

Love sewing. Taking something and making it completely different. Strict budgeting,"treasure hunts", getting/finding things that people never knew were vintage/unique, and the patterns/colors/fabric don't cost an arm/leg, which you MUST have to carry all that stuff to the register. :) :)

Nicole, I hear you, argggh.
Ankh, that's hilarious: lol, lol, lol; and soo true! Agree, not pressured to buy, just take your time.

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