Today it’s “mom jeans”, tomorrow it’s “ripped jeans”, next week it’s “skinny jeans”. Fashion trends change rapidly and have even been given a name: “fast fashion”. These changes are not without negative changes. Studies revealed that the fast fashion industry is responsible for around 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Additionally, almost 85% of textiles go to the dump annually. This shows just how much textile is being wasted. If there wasn’t a use for the textiles in the first place, they wouldn’t be produced, and thus would reduce carbon emissions by a lot. Fortunately, there are more climate friendly alternatives to fast fashion: thrifting and upcycling.
One of the best solutions to fast fashion is thrifting. Thrifting has become a trend, it is buying gently used clothes from thrift stores, garage sales, or flea markets. Thrifting is a win-win; you are getting clothes, possibly branded, while helping the earth. It’s estimated that over 400 gallons of water are used to create the cotton for one tee-shirt. By buying secondhand clothing items, you are recycling this cotton and saving 400 gallons of water. Rather than buying a branded item, you could buy two of those items at a discounted price! If you are thinking to yourself “why would I want to wear clothes that a stranger wore,” know that thrift stores restore clothing items to look good as new. Moreover, shopping at a thrift store means that you have more freedom to customize your clothes and get creative with them. Thrifting is beneficial to the environment in various ways. One of the most important is that it reduces the amount of clothing produced, therefore decreases global emissions.
Every time I go onto YouTube I always see upcycling, or thrift-flipping, videos. It’s become a trend to go to thrift stores and customize their clothes by adding buttons, tie-dying them, cropping them, etc. The possibilities are limitless with upcycling! If you’re like me, then you might not know how to sew that well, and that’s completely fine. One of the best parts of upcycling is that it doesn’t require special skills, like sewing. All you need is a pair of scissors and maybe some accessories. The benefits of upcycling are tremendous as it reduces the number of resources needed to create new textiles, while you still get a new item of clothing.
I 100% recommended checking out thrift stores and trying out upcycling! Some popular thrift stores are ThreadUp, Goodwill, Depop, Poshmark, Urban Renewal, Rebag, etc. The benefits to the environment are huge, as I have mentioned. If everyone switched to thrifting, we could save so much wasted textiles, reduce global carbon emissions, while still fulfilling our desire to buy new clothes!