Sounds pretty generic right? The basic answer I can give is that it depends on your intent and the way you go about thrifting.
Should I be thrifting more? What positive effects does thrifting have on the environment? I hate the idea of buying used stuff! Thrifting definitely has some pro’s and con’s you may never have even thought about.
In today’s article titled “Is Thrifting for Clothing a Good Idea” I am going to lay out some parts of thrifting that you may never have considered. We will cover thrifting to sell, the impacts of “thrift store depletion” and the effect thrifting has on the planet.
If you’re new to the page and want to get an idea on the basics of thrifting and how to get started as a thrifter, I suggest you read our previous article called “How to Get Started as a Thrifter.“
Is Thrifting-to-Sell a Good Idea?
Thrifting-to-sell has seriously taken off in the years since I began my personal consignment businesses. Early on, it was not very common to see younger people strolling through the door looking for “grail” pieces at “flip-worthy” prices. Now, more and more, we see this as an everyday occurrence. But the question is this; is thrifting-to-sell a good idea?
My answer to that question is yes, if done properly and mindfully. Thrifting-to-sell can be a great way to make money, recycle, curate, and even upcycle!
Upcycle: reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
The danger can come into play when you are not being mindful about what you are sourcing. An example of what I mean would be sourcing only plus-sized or extra small clothing for upcycling because you get more fabric for what you spend. This results in leaving minimal to no plus-sized or extra small clothing for people who shop at discounted places for themselves to wear. Of course, this is not being mindful, and has in fact, created a huge lack of plus-sized clothing being available to those that need it today.
Another example of not being mindful while thrifting-to-sell would be wiping out a store of all of the bottom priced inventory. Yes, I know we are trying to make a buck by thrifting-to-sell but you have to be aware of the fact that people rely on the thrift stores to buy clothing for themselves and for their families.
The Effects of Thrift Store Depletion
This may seem obvious to a lot of people but for those who don’t know what I mean, I will explain.
As covered in the previous chapter, thrifting-to-sell is probably the main contributor to thrift store depletion. Thrift store depletion is the term I will use for when a thrift store has been depleted of a large amount of any given category. It could be plus-sizes, all bottom priced items, or even a certain category of clothing.
The major downside to thrift store depletion is that it creates a void for the people who rely on the thrift stores to clothe themselves or their families. I know you may be thinking “why would someone need a 1992 Nirvana concert tee?” Well, the answer is simple; it’s really just a t-shirt to everyone except yourself and those willing to spend more on it.
More and more frequently are instances coming up in which people can’t find anything good or quality at thrift stores. The quality garments are being scooped away as soon as they hit the rolling racks and the only things left are fast fashion products or ugly dresses in sizes small and medium. It’s really not fair to those in need and it’s starting to get a little out of hand.
Is Thrifting Good for the Planet?
Again, my answer to this question is going to be yes; thrifting is good for the planet.
It keeps clothing from being tossed away into the garbage and ultimately ending in landfills where it is either burned or buried. It also slows down the production of fast-fashion brands pounding out millions of articles of clothing by the minute to the outstretched hands of over-consumers.
The life cycle of the clothing alternatively to thrifting is not a pretty one. Imagine a world where clothing is being produced in under-paid labor facilities, worn a few times, and then tossed into the garbage to rot.
The charity thrift stores that allow us to thrift also donate a portion of the proceeds they make to worthy causes. It is good to support the thrift stores regardless of your intent, but don’t take advantage of them.
To be perfectly honest with you I am getting sick of the question “why do they need an Armani jacket?” Well Mr. or Miss “privileged”; they don’t, and neither do you. Nobody needs an “Armani jacket” but some people simply need a jacket and could care less what the brand is. It’s not like the person who donated it brought it in for only you to take. In fact, if they wanted something for it other than good faith, they would have brought it to a different type of store!
The point is this; thrifting is a good idea. You just need to be mindful about certain things. Thrifting-to-sell is totally fine, the money you spent goes to a good cause. You can make some money while supporting a good cause! Thrifting for curation of your closet is fine as well; you can get some dope $h!t you normally wouldn’t be able to afford! Thrifting to upcycle is also a sustainable way to make new creations!
Just remember, everything in moderation. There are people who would be better off if you didn’t clear our all the plus sizes or extra small sizes to feed your upcycling machine and people who need clothing to be priced affordably to support their families. Keep it to what you need or look towards a less harmful supplier of goods.
-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment