Shift to thrift


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The younger generation is shifting to more sustainable ways of buying clothes.

Rachel Weathers and Adeline Gruen

In recent years, teens and young adults have begun to step away from fast fashion, the production of inexpensive designs at quick turnaround times and they have instead chosen more sustainable options, including thrifting at resale shops and consignment stores. 

Motivation for this type of shopping comes from wanting to be more environmentally friendly and to prevent the further exploitation of employees who often work in manufacturing facilities with little government regulation or oversight. 

It has caught the attention of teens because of the variety of what they can find and it also allows consumers to easily remake their wardrobe with less money spent. 

“I started thrifting because one, it was cheaper and two, you find a lot of different brands in a lot of different categories of clothing,” Daisy Exchange shopper Megan Jenkins said. “It was fun to do with friends and I liked it a lot.” 

Even though thrift stores have limited options in the number of items and sizes that they have, shoppers can still find almost anything. 

“It’s honestly made my style, if I’m being honest because you can find just about anything. It’s really helped propel my personal style,” Salvation Army shopper Marley Rose said.

Thrifting has enabled people to be experimental with their fashion choices and try new items as their style evolves. 

“I went from dressing really preppy to more graphics, more ripped jeans and older styles,” Uptown Cheapskate shopper Evany Romero said. “You find really cool designs compared to what you would at big name brand stores.”

There are many benefits to thrifting, one being that it’s a sustainable way to incorporate new items into one’s closest without the environmental costs. By purchasing even one gently used piece of clothing one can lessen their carbon footprint by 82 percent, according to research firm Green Story Inc.

“It’s changed my style in a way where I don’t like shopping for fast fashion clothes anymore,” Dress Mentor shopper Maddie Goodin said. “I like sustainable things and I think that thrifting is a really good way to keep the earth healthy.”

Some thrift stores have a combination of thrift and new items. This helps them to expand their demographic and be able to sell to everyone. 

“It’s so fun to come shop here [Uptown Cheapskate] because they have everything and the styles are really good, even the clothes that are new arrivals or on mannequins,” Romero said. “I would say that this store is the best that I’ve been to.” 

Across multiple platforms thrifting has risen in popularity. One way is through social media influencers such as bestdressed and Micarah Tewers who will do thrift hauls or upcycling videos on their YouTube channels. 

“When Tik Tok started becoming a thing, I saw a lot of cool outfits and most of them were from thrift stores,” Romero said. 

Clothing is an incredibly popular form of expression and it allows people to be creative through their appearance. 

“It’s given younger kids kind of a voice in a way that they can just express themselves through clothing depending on what style they chose,” Jenkins said.

Thrifting is a way people can express themselves on a budget. While there are some downsides such as not having the right size or items in bad condition, there is still the possibility of finding the perfect item.


Contact Rachel Weathers and Adeline Gruen at [email protected]