by Emmerson Clark | staff writer
Thrifting and second hand clothing has boomed on social media starting anti-fast fashion movements.
“Fast fashion to me, I think while it’s popularly absorbed in the media I think it does need to be stopped and I think the majority of people that contribute to it don’t realize how bad of an effect it has on the welfare of people,” senior Cammie Mohrer said.
The average American fashion consumer wastes 81.5lbs of clothes every year. Popular fashion stores such as: SHEIN, H&M, and Urban Outfitters are some of the biggest contributors to fast fashion.
“I think if you don’t realize what you’re doing, then I guess it’s okay because you’re not aware of the problems but if you are aware of the problems and you’re still, like, contributing a good amount of money towards it, I think it is an issue,” Mohrer said.
Fast fashion doesn’t only negatively affect the environment but also tends to violate workers rights with some employees earning as little as 2 cents per clothing item made.
“It has a lot of negative effects on the environment because of, like, waste and pollution that’s caused by overuse and extensive child labor,” junior Eyrn Zinsmeister said. “But I can understand because it’s cheap and easily accessible that it’s usually the easiest option for people.”
In order to find quality clothes at a thrift store, it takes time and effort since a lot of the clothes were donated as an alternative to being thrown away.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find, like, new or higher quality clothes, and you don’t always know the source of them so they could have ultimately come out of fast fashion,” Zinsmeister said.
Thrifting is a great alternative for environmental reasons but because the products tend to be less expensive they are more accessible to those who cannot afford new clothing.
“And I think that people who are able to afford higher quality clothes, who thrift extremely often might be taking resources for people who don’t have the financial capabilities to do so,” Zinsmeister said.
Thrifting has plenty of disadvantages and it can be challenging to stick to only thrifting clothing. Sports clothing, formal wear, or any career specific clothing are hard to find at thrift stores.
“And honestly, most of the stuff that isn’t thrifted is like team gear for swim [team], or like show shirts for theater,” Zinsmeister said.
Not all first hand clothing is from fast fashion, while custom made clothing tends to be expensive, there’s plenty of alternatives to second hand clothing while also staying away from fast fashion.
“Just be conscious about the choices that you’re making,” Mohrer said.