Over the past couple years, thrifting and upcycling clothes has become more popular. Doing so is not only good for the planet, but also introduces new opportunities for fashion trends to resurface.
Manufacturing, producing, packaging and distributing new clothing uses a substantial amount of energy and water. Choose to buy secondhand clothing instead of brand new clothing, and you’ll reduce waste and help the environment.
“It closes the loop of clothing,” Cai Fox, a senior studying sustainable business, said. “People could not need clothes anymore or their body changes and instead of throwing it away, being able to reuse it makes it so much more sustainable.”
The production of a pair of jeans can require more than 2,000 gallons of water, and the production of a cotton T-shirt can use more than 800 gallons, according to the environmental advocacy organization Conscious Challenge.
Used clothes save an immense amount of water and cut back the usage of other energy sources in new clothes’ production and distribution.
Thrifting has become one of my favorite activities recently. I love the idea of taking an old item someone else once wore and giving it a new use.
I go to Goodwill or Plato’s Closet with my friends to see if we can find cute clothes for cheap prices. I went to Goodwill with my roommates to find clothes we could wear for Halloween this year.
One of my personal local favorites is the Antique Mall on Seventh Street. It has three levels of clothes and antiques to choose from.
“When I worked as a counselor for a couple summers, thrifting was one of the fun Saturday activities I did with my coworkers,” Fox said. “Each week was themed, so we would go out to some of the thrift stores and try to find interesting things to make outfits for the week.”
Thrifting should not be limited to cheap Halloween accessories or costume nights. It should be the way you buy your clothes. Online thrift stores mean it can even be done from home.
“Some companies are starting online thrifting as well,” Fox said. “There is one called TheRealReal and a couple others that repurpose high end fashion brands that otherwise would just be tossed.”
The way people view thrifting has drastically changed over the past several years. Now, people thrift for fun. Some people have even made names for themselves as thrifting YouTubers or TikTokers.
Next time you need to go shopping, consider looking in your local thrift stores for clothes, shoes or accessories. You might find something cute that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and you’ll promote sustainable fashion.
Some Bloomington stores to try include Bloomington Thrift Shop, Bloomington Antique Mall, Goodwill and Plato’s Closet.
Olivia Franklin (she/her) is a sophomore studying journalism with a minor in political science. She is currently a member of the swim club at IU.