The Ultimate Cheat-Sheet to Thrifting

Hang in there for a list of cool thrift stores towards the end!

Thrifting as a concept was bizarre for me till the start of this year, when I came across a few shoutouts for some stores online by one of my closest friends. As soon as I saw her wearing her ‘thrifts’ and immersing in what can only be called ‘a holy experience of sustainable living’, I practically jumped into this world unknown to me for so long.

However, I cannot pretend that before this year I was the healthiest person you could find when it came to being environmentally friendly. I had only ever read articles about sustainability, had made myself aware of the problems that exist, conveniently ignoring the fact that I was a part of this problem. This year, brought in so many changes around me, those which had me calling myself out on my consistent hypocrisy. Only after I started reading what leading fast fashion chains were doing to this planet, I started feeling responsible for:

  1. Buying a sea of clothes from these stores which would soon degrade into crumbles in less than a year.
  2. Buying more clothes than I needed.
  3. Not having control over my spending habits.

By now I believe most of us know about the atrocities these brands have been repeatedly committing, which include gender-based violence, multiple sexual harassment cases filed against the owners of stores, unfair wages and this list is endless. Now, add to that list, multiple fabrics which are not bio-degradable, the clothes which are bought turn outdated in less than 6 months because of the constant change in trends all around the year (fast fashion firms launch 52 seasons a year).

And to be completely honest with you, it took me a few months even after that conversation with myself because these are habits you’ve grown into over the years, it can be difficult to get rid of them. When the world around you keeps screaming brand names which hide their thefts, you’re bound to fall prey to their marketing, which is why it is important to not shame the shoppers rather demand a change in the business models of these fast fashion brands. It is important to remember that as much as we’re a part of the problem, we also can be and in most ways are a part of the solution. If you see someone engaging with these brands, do not be quick to shame them, making them aware though shall help. 

That still does not answer the following questions:

  1. What exactly is thrifting?

Thrifting refers to buying products which have already been used by an owner but can still be used by a new owner considering they are in the right shape and condition. Usually, these products come at a discounted price since they are pre-loved. You will easily find clothes, books, jewellery, shoes, accessories online, which are in perfect condition to be bought and used.

2. What are these fabrics mentioned before?

Fast fashion brands rely on the use of fabrics like Synthetics (Polyester, Nylon, Spandex) derived from oil/ petroleum; non-renewable resources. To quote Hasan Minhaj from the Patriot Act, “Just by wearing your clothes nine months longer, you can reduce your carbon footprint for the garment by 30%.” Which also leads one to question the use of cotton, although it is widely used it requires an extravagant amount of water, questionable amounts of pesticides which are pollutants for the health of farmers, on the other hand, there is a type of cotton which is grown without the use of these pesticides which is ‘organic cotton’, but such cotton only ever makes up to less than 0.1% of the total 22.7 million metric tons of cotton produced worldwide. This is why it is also essential to support traditional farming practices which are done without the use of pesticides.

2 quotes you shouldn’t forget

3. How does that help the environment?

Reusing clothes, buying second-hand or even renting clothing items, ‘slows down’ the chain of fast fashion by increasing the ‘life expectancy’ of a (hypothetical) classic white T-shirt made out of cotton which must’ve taken around 2,700 litres of water to be produced. If I am being honest, my father who has been using his same Woodland Jacket for the past six years and has kept it in a condition which is as good as new, inspired me to write this blog. Apart from this, thrift stores are conscious of their packaging and plastic consumption, so they make sure that their packaging is eco-friendly as well, so that’s a win-win for everyone!

This video explains everything you need to know about the birth and the life of your rather basic t-shirt

To quote Vir Das, “There’s a lot of cool clothes in this world, and you can wear them all you just don’t have to own them”. We’re just a week into 2021 and this is the time all of us start working mindfully towards our resolutions and begin the process of turning them into habits, your fashion statement shouldn’t be left astray in that list. 

Looking out for thrift stores to make that shift right away? Here are a few suggestions (for those residing in India): Thrift India, PandapickedstoreBombay Closet Cleanse. I promise you that after you follow these, you will yourself stumble upon other cool stores like these and I can’t wait for you to begin that journey!

I’d also love to know your favourite Thrift store!

References used for this blog: