The fashion industry has gone through many fads and trends that have re-occurred decades later. It is no secret that thrift shopping has been a staple in the fashion industry. Although there isn’t a huge population of folks that only buy their clothes at second hand stores, numbers have certainly seemed to grow. Yes, buying second hand clothing is affordable, but it is also a way to form your own unique style. There are endless possibilities when you walk into a thrift store, you just have to open your mind to the wonders of fashion.
Buying second hand is also helping the environment. Old clothes get thrown in landfills and take more energy to be disposed of. When people buy second hand they minimize the amount of clothing being wasted and in turn save more energy because the clothes are getting more wear than they would have been if they were just thrown out.
Emmerson Cooper, a senior at Boise High, and frequent thrift shopper, voiced her opinion on large fashion brands saying, “Fast fashion is a really big problem, and this is a great way to not support it. The amount of energy and water it takes to produce clothes is horrid, and a lot of clothes go out of style fast (on purpose because the stores want to get more money so they change the trends to get you to buy more)”
The uniqueness of thrift stores is a constant. Cooper spoke about what she loves about thrifting. “There are so many benefits to thrifting. My favorite is how you find super sick clothes that nobody else has.” And it’s so true, a person can find a big tee-shirt they really like and crop it to make it their own. If they have a sewing machine, that’s even better. A person can completely revamp old clothing and turn it into a one of a kind piece. People can also make money off of the clothes they buy for cheap.
Emmerson Cooper often resells her thrifted clothing and says she makes a good amount of money. This is especially helpful if you know what styles people like. A corduroy jacket you bought for $5.99 can sell at a much higher price if you know your audience. Although selling for more than you bought can be frowned upon, thrifting opens that door because it’s just recycling material.
Reselling clothes can become a living for some. Jillian Kates Bumpas, a musical theater performer in New York, has a second hand clothing business called Small Fire Vintage. “It’s especially fun living in New York City where one man’s trash is TRULY another man’s come up,” Bumpas stated. But this summer she packed up all of her things and traveled in a little trailer and sold her clothing and items at flea markets and other markets around the U.S.
Especially during COVID when performers are out of work, this is one of the smartest and coolest ways to make money. When speaking with Bumpas she said, “Knowing that a lot of these items have had a long, full lifetime (or two) before they ended up in my hands makes it the most special. Each one is like a diary of adventures logged that I’ll never get to read but I get to add my entries too until I feel it’s time for them to continue on to their next journey!”
Thrifting is a great way to reduce waste and feed one’s creativity. Giving back is also essential to buying second hand and it’s important that if we thrift, we remember to donate as well. In doing so, we keep the healthy, creative cycle of thrifting going.