Ethical Thrifting

Ethical Thrifting: The Morality Behind the Fashion Fad

In Fashion Features, Student Mingle, Sustainable Fashionby Ryan Thomas

‘Thrifting’ is a term coined to describe shopping for ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’ items at thrift and second-hand stores for their bargain prices. As thrifting culture rises, those who are restricted to buying used items are left with fewer and fewer options.

4 ways to continue ethical thrifting:

  1. Refrain from buying essential items. Some of the used items in second-hand stores are more crucial for the demographics these stores were originally intended for than others. Shoes, underwear, and coats are examples of essential items; therefore, should be avoided as much as possible by shoppers who do not need the items at such low prices. Avoiding using baby clothes as cropped items is another way to help out families who depend on thrift stores.
  2. Shop in your zip code. Oftentimes when thrifting, you want the best deal possible and that can mean going to urban or inner-city second-hand stores. However, shopping at stores within your community allows for fair prices for the surrounding residents. 
  3. Avoid reselling. A large sector of unethical thrifting is the middle-man ideology of reselling. Many shoppers have begun reselling used items for significantly more than the original cost. Depop, a social shopping app, is a platform that can be used by upper and middle-class communities to exploit resale stores. Though starting an online shop is harmless in theory, removing used items from an already modest stockpile to resell for higher prices is pretty detrimental for communities who depend on second-hand shopping.
  4. Donate. If you plan on shopping, donate as well. Resale stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army accept donations and usually have donation centers or donation bins outside of the store.

Thrifting is a growing phenomenon that is a ton of fun for shoppers; searching through tons of clothes to find hidden treasures is addicting. It is important to remain cognizant of how you affect the communities around you so if you choose to thrift and have the means to– do it ethically!

If you’re interested in learning more about ethical thrifting, sign up for a free profile! 

About Ryan Thomas

Ryan Thomas is currently a junior at Howard University. She is excited to be joining Fashion Mingle as an intern and hopes to continue expanding her network within a field she is passionate about.

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