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Thrifting – Good for the Environment and Your Purse

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Drexel chapter.

College is a hard time for a lot of students when it comes down to money and keeping up with the fashion trends on a budget. If anyone follows fashion, they know that each personality style has its own trends, and those trends tend to make their way back around eventually, whether it be after a few years or a few months. When trends first come into style and gain popularity, the prices for those articles of clothing tends to be somewhat hurtful to the pocket. Whether the singular pair of leggings would cost almost one-hundred dollars or a single shirt costs alone over fifty dollars, these same styles and brands could be found in some thrift stores. 

My story with thrifting began after high school graduation. As I was planning what to bring and what to get for college, I wanted to do it on a cheap budget, and so I turned to thrifting. Though it’s only been about three years since I really got into thrifting, I learned a lot along the way. Though there are mixed feelings about thrifting, where some people might find it to be repulsive to wear clothing worn by other people, that is not always the case. Time is very important when it comes to thrifting. I’ve found myself wandering the aisles of thrift stores for hours on end finding the perfect treasure I came looking for. With thrifting, the articles of clothing that are donated, have to be in good condition, when the store accepts those donations. Some treasures I’ve found in thrift stores vary from authentic name brands such as Vineyard Vines, Victoria’s Secret Pink (which weren’t undergarments), Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, NFL Certified Jersey’s, and so much more. 

Lauren Fleischmann

One reasoning why I try to turn people to check out thrifting more often, as an alternative way of shopping is that it’s much better for the environment. As we go to malls, we tend to see stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Zara, and so on – those are fast fashion stores. Fast Fashion stores can be defined as low-priced clothing that is brought to market quickly and copies fashion trends created by luxury brands. From there, Fast Fashion has been seen to be a factor in being a contributor to 10% of the world’s carbon emission and 20% of water pollution. In addition to that, fast fashion, and the industry itself is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide: one pair of jeans takes about 2,000 gallons to make and one cotton shirt will take about 700 gallons to make. As mentioned earlier, fashion trends tend to make a comeback eventually, and thrifting is a cheaper alternative to buying similar, original, antique articles of clothing very similar to today’s trends, if not the exact same. 

Secondly, thrifting is a much cheaper option for getting authentic name brands! Now, the main key for getting authentic name brand treasures from thrift stores, is location. Location is key when it comes to the articles of clothing the store will have for its shoppers. I live in a middle/upper-class town, and what I tend to find in these thrift stores varies from Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Tiffany & Co. (I know, I was also shocked), Vineyard Vines, Lululemons, Zara, and so much more! I had a few instances, where I visited a thrift store in more middle/lower class towns, and you can find some good gems there too! I’ve found NFL certified jerseys, Ralph Lauren, and VS Pink articles in some of them. Now, where you go, you will find certain brands, but you will also be charged a certain amount for them. Definitely cheaper than if you were to go and buy it right from the store, but my town tends to have the Calvin Klein articles a little more pricer than if I were to find the same article in one of the lower/middle-class town thrift stores. Location and time are key when it comes down to thrifting. 

Kellyn Simpkin-Girl Holding Money
Kellyn Simpkin / Her Campus

Thrifting overall has gained popularity by a lot of people recently that more thrift stores are beginning to open and expand, plus there are some websites and apps that you can thrift from, while still shopping on a budget. In Center City Philadelphia, there is a chain thrift store called Buffalo Exchange, which gets a lot of popularity from college students and locals who come to donate their clothing in exchange for a gift card to the store or cash. One of my personal favorites in Philadelphia is the Philly Aids Thrift store in South Philly. Why is it my favorite? They have discount colors every day and a whole $1 section, where EVERYTHING (yes, everything) is a dollar. Plus, this thrift store has the philanthropy attached to it where the profits made from any sales go to AIDS research and cures.

An app I like to check out and use is called thredUp and you could even sell old articles of clothing to them. Lastly, some good chain thrift stores to check out outside of the lovely Philadelphia are Goodwill and Plato’s Closet! I’ve been to both multiple times. Whether it is while I’m visiting home for the weekend or going out shopping to change up my closet, everyone I drag with me inside is usually walking out with at least one item and satisfied with their purchase. 

Melanie is a Drexel University student majoring in Chemistry. Melanie's hometown is Westfield, New Jersey, but she is currently living in Philadelphia where she goes to work in Delaware, while attending online classes from her apartment. She has two dogs and a cat, who she loves greatly. With any free time she has, she enjoys reading different fiction and dystopian books, thrifting her paycheck away, watching highly recommended or super-cheesy Netflix shows/movies, and enjoying time with family/friends doing various activities.
Her Campus Drexel contributor.