Shop thrift and save the world
Sure, that’s a little bit of an overstatement, but keep reading.
I initially started “thrifting” because I’m parsimonious and it was a cheap way to scratch the fashion itch—oh, look, jeans you can cut off for boyfriend shorts for $4.
But as I became a bit more educated about the realities of how clothing is made in our world today—especially fast fashion—I started to see that thrifting wasn’t just about saving money (after all a t-shirt from Wal-Mart can often be just as cheap).
That thrifting could actually lessen the impact of the millions (and millions) of cheap shoes and t-shirts we make and toss every year. And, even more important, that thrifting made me think about the impact cheap fashion has on the people who are being paid way too little to make it.
Thrifting could help me stop being part of the problem. (And, bonus, let me buy something unique that every third person wouldn’t be wearing this summer. I’m sureRebecca Light, one of the owners of the Good Style Shop would definitely agree!)
I won’t pretend to be an expert on this topic, but here are two people who are—check them out.
James Ferrett, the founder of Ethical Trade Company. His company sells fair trade products from developing countries such as Nepal, Haiti and Cambodia. It’s his way of trying to make a dent in the reality that 35 million people around the world are victims of modern day slavery.
What can YOU do to make a difference?
Educate yourself (see above). Then buy accordingly.
Stop buying stuff just to buy stuff. Do you really (really) need another cheap black t-shirt, pair of jeans, flip-flops, etc.? I admit to having any number of things in my closet that wouldn’t stand up to the “need” test, and that Marie Kondo would find plenty to jettison, but I’m trying to do better.
Consider shopping thrift–but do it mindfully. Don’t just load up on a bunch of stuff you won’t wear/don’t need, but consider at least checking out a thrift store the next time you need to buy. I’ve found some great buys at my local St. Vinnie’s and it feels good to support people in need with your purchase and keep things out of a landfill.
I do recognize the likelihood of that perfect white blouse is pretty limited and that you won’t have the luxury of the same style of jeans in three sizes to find your perfect fit. But try thrifting and see what you discover—you might be surprised!
Two of my favorites–thank you Rethreads!
Learn to mend—and do it—or recycle/upcycle. I say this as someone who would rather sew an entire new thing from scratch than fix a hem (only sort of exaggerating), but if you’ve ever thrown something perfectly good because it needed a little repair, reconsider! Plus, in this time of ripped jeans and personalized style, maybe that pair of jeans is just a fashion moment waiting to happen. Check out this book for ideas.
You can see I hate to mend!
That’s my two cents for today. And the next time you run into me, ask me if I’m wearing anything thrift (very likely!) or newly repaired (ok, less likely but you never know!).