Over the last few years, thrift shopping has become an embraced fashion trend that has allowed for the new generation to experiment with their personal style without giving in to the fast fashion trends companies tend to throw at consumers.
“Fast Fashion” is quickly becoming one of the highest polluting industries in the world. Companies are looking for quick and cheap ways to produce the hottest new looks only for consumers to wear these items once and toss them aside once their popularity is gone.
According to a research article written by Susana Toboso Chavero, environmental scientist and fashion designer, fashion consumption has increased by 400% in the last few years causing manufacturing to change dramatically leaving a huge carbon footprint.
Different types of waste and pollution is produced during the production of fast fashion clothing, typically due to the textile waste of sample garments and the large amounts of chemical use.
Many sample garments and the oldest fashion trends end up in landfills, rivers and oceans once companies and consumers do their spring cleaning and make room for the newest trends. A lot of it isn’t sustainable, causing it to accumulate. The creation of the materials used to create the clothing do not help much either. Nylon and polyester materials are made from a lot of petrochemicals, which makes them non biodegradable and a waste of our non renewable resources.
Cotton is one of the most widely used resources in the industry causing intense cotton cultivation among major companies and businesses. Over time it has used up about 2.6% of our global water use and requires a lot of pesticides, which can be harmful to our environment if it is misused.
There are so many other factors involved when producing fast fashion other than the pollution being created. Many of our resources are being used up and the fashion industry has had a huge problem with the mistreatment of workers. Chavero explained that the workers in the industry, specifically women, have suffered for a long time. Women are the most sought after in the textile industry. They typically have the longest hours, are the lowest paid, and expected to have the most availability. These workers are scared of losing their jobs and as a result they refuse to ask for any type of maternity leave or sick time.
Instead of giving into the fast fashion and contributing to the pollution and unfair actions being taken by these companies, individuals can take advantage of the thrift stores. Thrifting or shopping second hand can be environmentally friendly and can support charities. There are several thrift stores, second hand stores, flea markets and yard sales in the Turlock area, one of which is located down the street from Stanislaus State.
Community Hospice Hope Chest Thrift Store located at 2745 Geer Road, not only offers cheap second hand alternatives, but it also gives back to the community by putting their profits towards hospice patients and programs that help children who are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Volunteers are always needed if one would like to give their time and services. If individuals have clothing or any other items you need to get rid of, Hope Chest will gladly accept donations. Their donation center is located right across from them. For more information on that you can visit their website.
Second hand shopping can bring lots of opportunity to those who take part in it. A lot of hidden gems are often donated and found.
“I personally just buy clothes here,” said Hope Chest manager, Florina Cruz. “I’m not into the treasures, but many customers have found their hidden treasures when shopping here.”
Their website is often posting their most interesting and unique donations and even offer 25% off to Stan State students who bring their student ID cards.
Thrift stores aren’t the only second hand shopping options. There’s also the options of going to yard sales and flea markets. There are many yard sale Facebook groups to choose from that usually give the general locations of the sale or post their most interesting items and offers.
Some people are hesitant about buying things second hand, but it may open up a whole new world of style and personality.
Local second hand shoppers, Mayra Soria and Noelia Gonzalez have spent the last few years committed to second hand shopping and over time it has allowed them to play around with their styles.
“Thrifting has definitely helped me have a certain style,” said Soria. With thrift stores, when you find something you like, you have to really like it to buy it. You just kind of find unique things and it forms a closet – a personality almost.”
“Fast fashion has become the enemy of style. If you give yourself room to experiment and try new things you can open up to a lot more styles than you think,” added Gonzalez.
If the current generation sticks to second hand shopping, they may prevent the next generation from contributing to the pollution of our planet and give them a whole unique wardrobe in the process.