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Thrift Decisions

Madie Hays, Staff Writer

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Debate Over Virtues of Bargain Hunting Rages On

In today’s world, style and clothing are how teenagers choose to express themselves. However, popular and trendy, clothing comes with a price, literally. Public figures hold a massive platform for new trends that people have to get their hands on but can’t afford. The fast fashion industry includes stores that produce clothing quickly and inexpensively that shoppers can purchase from thier local mall. Stores like H&M, Zara, Topshop, and Forever 21 follow these guidelines for the mainstream consumer to be able to buy from these vicinities. Fast fashion companies are the gateway that brings clothing pieces from the runway to the racks in Forever 21.
While shopping at these companies seems like the better option considering the low price point, fast fashion industries produce an overabundance of clothing that is not only harmful to the planet, but harmful to the workers in developing countries that are on a time crunch to assemble these clothes.
“Both thrift stores and fast fashion stores have that similar low price range. However, stores like Forever21 and Zara don’t ethically produce their clothing.” Alex Olendorff (12) said.
Shopping at fashion retailers may help the wallet, but it can hurt a shopper’s morals. Workers in Bangladesh receive about two dollars per day to produce clothing that is exported back to America and to only be thrown away after a short period of time.
Each year, Americans dispose of over 68 pounds of textiles and fabrics per year that heads straight for landfills. The reason consumers discard their clothing so quickly is because the quality of production is so poor that it only lasts for a few wears. The cycle of overproduction, overconsumption, and waste continues but the industry still thrives.
While shopping local or buying less may be a conscious alternative, thrift shopping is a much better option. Thrifting is a very controversial substitute that some people may turn their nose up to or disagree with, however, it is much better for the environment and your wallet.
“I love thrifting because I can get a lot more clothes for my money. Also, whenever I go to consignment stores and I find something I like, there’s only one of it. Typically in a Forever 21 there’s tons of the same shirt, but in a thrift store each article of clothing is one of a kind,” Emma Fore (12) said.
The variety of second-hand stores is mainly what draws people in. If someone finds a piece they like, there’s a pretty rare chance they will see someone with the same thing on as them. Each clothing item is unique in its own way; what with the style, size and fit, anyone can shop in a thrift store with plenty of options that meets their style criteria.
Consignment shops, unlike fast fashion stores, do not have a price point that correlates with the quality of the clothing. While all clothing items in thrift stores are not the same quality as they were when originally purchased, they can still be altered to suit one’s taste.
“In thrift stores if something is worn down or old you can always upcycle it and make it your own,” Amanda Self (12) said.
Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of following trends, having an individual style and an open mind makes thrifters more susceptible to finding clothes they like for a much cheaper price. Resale shops are prime examples of ways shoppers can stretch their dollar and experiment with new clothing they may not typically buy in a name-brand store. They can purchase something they don’t already own, but there’s no need to commit to a high price.
Although thrifting itself is becoming a huge trend, others choose not to participate. Some say they don’t want to take product away from those who have no other options but Goodwill and Savers. This idea may sound convincing but there is a wide variety of clothing and other products in second-hand stores that don’t have to be limited to certain consumers.
Others argue going to thrift stores is unsanitary and extremely cluttered. Although most resale stores fit this criteria, going into the labyrinth of Forever 21 to only find a shirt with the classic “Monday’s Suck” embroidered on the chest is relatively similar, so the obvious thing to do is to keep looking. Despite the fact that the majority of clothing in thrift stores are used, the majority of clothes in department stores have been tried on by multiple different people. Just because thrift stores feature pre owned items does not mean they are at an unfit condition to purchase.
Although not everyone is on the consignment craze, it’s very important to be educated on the fast fashion industry and all that goes behind it. There are countless reasons why thrifting is much more reasonable than buying from Topshop and Charlotte Russe. The mask of hot trends and low prices can’t always cover up the well-being of workers and the conditions of sweatshops they are forced to go to every day. Sticking to resale stores is far more environmentally friendly because there is no hard forced labor put into the clothes you are currently buying.
“With stores like Goodwill or Savers, the damage has already been done so you’re not hurting anyone by buying clothing there.” Olendorff said.
When it comes to fashion, it’s important for shoppers to get out of their comfort zone. Stumbling across a shop or boutique that sells clothes at a low price point is always an exciting thing, however the quality to quantity ratio matters, and if something does not add up, thrift shopping is a great alternative.
“If you haven’t gone thrift shopping, you should try it because you can find a lot of the clothes you might find at name-brand places for a lot cheaper,” Fore said.

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