Hit the thrift. Save the Earth.

Hannah Puetz

Fashion influencers are flocking to the thrift store, trying to find vintage clothing, high-end products for cheaper prices, or just trying to find the latest fashion trends. Though thrifting isn’t just a way to find the latest fashion trends, it is also a way to help the environment and aid waste problems. Many people are unaware of the amount of fabric that is wasted during the distribution process of clothing. A study from RoadRunner claimed that nearly 17 million tons of textile fabric was misspent in 2018 due to fabric waste. Thrifting has become a way to help alleviate waste problems, such as that one.
“A lot of clothes are thrown away…and it’s really nice to have a different option and we could use stuff instead of trashing it off,” stated sophomore Camilla Ragan, who has her closet filled with thrifted clothing.
Thrifting can also help with labor problems throughout the world, such as unregulated factories. The workers at these factories work hard labor for long hours and have very limited wages. These unconditional working conditions are illegal and are not allowed in the United States for the use of child labor and for violating many labor laws. Thrifting has become a great alternative for clothes shopping and is a way to not support certain workplaces and labor violations. A major importance of clothes shopping is knowing where the clothes come from that are purchased, and thrifting is a great way to help support upcycling and reusing clothing. Being able to turn an old piece of clothing into something new is an effective way to help the environment, but also gives you a fun new clothing option that you created yourself.
“There is no need to waste fabric and clothing material. People are going to wear certain clothes, stow them away, instead of just reselling them or patching them up. Instead they are going to destroy the environment to make the exact same thing you could have made with the exact same material,” stated sophomore Andre LeClairHagen.
Not only does thrifting help with the environment and prevent dangerous working conditions, it is also a way to help build your closet and fill it. Thrifting is a great way to save money while buying a variety of different clothes for more options. It is a way to aid cost management and a way to save money, while still being able to fill your closet. Many clothing stores overcharge for certain pieces, and thrifting is a way to get a similar piece at a lower, and more affordable price.
“Malls always up the charge and then offer discounts like you’re actually saving money, but you know that the items that you’re buying, you know, for less than a yard of clothing, should not be $50. It should be $20,” stated senior Alicia Williams, an avid thrifter.
Another important factor of thrifting is being able to find places that have good quality clothes with affordable prices. Some thrift stores overcharge for poor quality clothing, so it is important to research thrift stores when going to them to find the best places.
“Goodwill, and Revived, which is a consignment shop. Those are two really good places in Rolla,” stated Williams. “If I want to go out of Rolla, I go to Plato’s Closet, in Sappington, Missouri, but that is also kind of more expensive like Revived, but both of those are really good places.”
Not only is it good to shop local, especially when thrifting, it is a way to feel more connected within the community. The clothes that are available at the local thrift stores are donated by others in the community, and it is a way to make others feel more connected with people in their town.
“I think thrifting is a better way to connect with our community too, because I mean just our small Rolla society, we don’t have any large malls or, reputable places to buy cool clothing, but whenever you thrift you can talk to people that live here or connect with fashion that’s more local,” explained Williams.
Another advantage of thrifting is the ability to have many different options of items and collectibles. Thrift stores offer other items to look through, like records, art, and jewelry.
“You can find decorations to jazz up your place and jewelry. I think the jewelry sections are so cool,” said Ragan.
It is another way to buy different items for a more affordable price and to find vintage and antique goods that might not be available in stores. Many people have found more retro pieces that are no longer available in stores at certain thrift stores. Some of those items that are found can be very evocative and reminiscent to others, and it is interesting buying those little pieces and being able to have something that is vintage or retro.
“Personally, I don’t like buying shoes in a thrift store, but you can find those there. One thing I really like finding is old CDs. It’s a good way for me to find new music because I have a CD player in my car. Sometimes there’s also art that you can find there, whether it’s just art that was from Walmart or it’s someone’s actual painting and framing,” said Williams. “Something really interesting and always fun to look at is old movies, which are fun, and old video games. I found some old electronics like cameras, which was really fun. I accidentally lost my camera that was from the 90s, but it’s really interesting to find ‘obsolete technology’. I actually think it’s coming back.”
Not only is it a way to find obsolete technology and vintage items, thrifting appeals to many people for various reasons, including finding resources for better prices to make things.
“If you go to the right places, thrift stores, I think in general you can find some really cool stuff. Or even if you’re good with your hands, you can make stuff out of things, like I find parts to make jewelry. I make most of my earrings and chains, and I think it is a good way to save money as well as finding stuff that’s high quality,” said LeClairHagen, who reuses materials to make his own jewelry.
Thrifting for the first time can be a very overwhelming experience, for when you walk in a thrift store there are many shelves packed with different items and pieces.
“If you’re looking for something, like a certain shirt that you just want cheaper, you should make a list, but if you’re doing it just for fun, I would dig through everything,” stated Ragan.
Making lists of items that are a want or need is a good way to find things easier, while others think it is more fun to go into thrift stores and dig through everything. A main factor of fruitful thrifting is the ability to dig through all of the clothes and look for more different pieces and items that you wouldn’t be able to normally find in certain stores.
“I have never tried to make an agenda when thrift shopping. If you are really intending not to spend extra money then you should, but nothing specific like, ‘I want a blue shirt that’s strapped with sequins on it’ because you’re never going to find that,” said Williams. “You’re never going to find something that specific, but if you’re going in like, ‘I really want an outfit, that’s my goal today,’ [that’s good]. It has to be really generalized. I think if you’re going to make an agenda for thrift shopping, just because there’s everything, there’s nothing at the same time.”
Thrifting is a way to help stop filling landfills. Instead, clothes are recycled and donated, helping the community. It is a way to help the community, and get many different pieces for a better cost.
Thrifting has continued to grow, and has become trendy due to Tiktok, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media outlets. Many different influencers have started the trend of going to thrift stores and now others are searching the racks at their thrift store for different pieces to show off. With social media growing, thrifting will continue to be a trend within many towns and cities, offering others many more fun and different options for their closet, while making a difference for the environment and their community.
“Thrifting helps the environment by preventing excess waste. It’s a good source for upcycling material as well, like not every thrifted item is wearable, but you can always change it and make it into something completely new,” said Williams.