To Thrift is to Love Yourself and the Planet

Words by Klaudia Zychowska

There is no denying that the planet we live on is in terrible shape. The human race has abused and violated Mother Earth consistently and carelessly to the point where she is unrecognizable-- and it’s only getting worse. With the widespread cutting of trees, brutal killings of wild animals, and dumping of trash into the oceans, the destruction that has been done is unfixable. One of the quickest and most fatal doings in the decline of Mother Earth is fashion pollution. In the old days, clothing was passed on from sibling to sibling, washed and patched up throughout the years, and people only had a few items of clothing in their wardrobes. Today, the king of the fashion world is Fast Fashion. The clothes we buy in stores today are made by people working in absurd and sometimes fatal conditions, are made of cheap material, and are tossed as quickly as they are bought. Everything the entire human population throws out on a daily basis ends up in the oceans—piles and piles of fabric. One solution is to stop buying clothes or to make your own. However, not many people have the time or skill set to do that, so there is another solution: thrifting.

Thrifting is no longer something to be embarrassed about—shopping for used clothing has become a fashion statement of its own. It is the fashion forward way to be eco-friendly and shop for clothes that someone no longer has found a use for. Acquiring new clothes through thrifting means that no new clothing had to be made in order for you to add something to your wardrobe. It’s taking the state of Mother Earth into consideration and helping her by lessening the load of clothing she carries, soaked and piling in her once crystal blue oceans.

Thrifting allows you to own one-of-a-kind pieces that no one else has. Regardless of whether it is intentional or not, the way we present ourselves tells the world about who we are. The hairstyle we fix in the morning, the bracelet we put on, the pants that we grab from our closet, it all includes a little piece of information and sends it out to everyone we meet on our path. That might sound intimidating, as there is pressure in the choices regarding our attire, but it also presents a lot of room for self-expression. Ask any designer or stylist what their favorite thing about fashion is and they will tell you that is the freedom to express yourself as an individual. You have the power to choose who you want to be and clothing is a way to showcase that.

By buying unique pieces from thrift stores, you can show the world the person you are or want to be. A grandpa sweater from the 80s, a skin tight silver dress, a shirt from the 60s are all things that will make you stand out from the crowd, if that is something you want to do. Thrift stores contain enough of a variety of pieces that everyone can find something that suits their personality or style. And looking for the one piece that will transform your wardrobe is part of the fun. While with regular stores the majority of shopping is done online, a thrift stores requires you to be inside and go through every piece on every rack. There are times when you will walk away empty handed and frustrated, other times you will walk away with only one item and a smile on your face, and other times with bags full of clothing and the concerning thought of how many loads of laundry you will have to do. Still, you will always be tempted to go back, because nothing beats the feeling of finding that one amazing thing that is perfect is style and size, and that you know you will be the only one who owns it.

No matter your intentions of entering a thrift store, if it is to be sustainable, be unique in your stye, or simply because it is a way to save money, you will achieve all three. The popularity of thrift stores has been consistently on the rise, and they have been popping up on streets all over the world. If you’ve never been in one, it’s worth a shot just to try it out--maybe you’ll find something that you’ve been searching for and haven’t found, and then when you do find it. you’ll love it even more than from a regular store, because you’ll know you’ve helped out Mother Earth with that one little purchase.