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No, Thrifting Does Not Absolve You of Overconsumption

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

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

In 2022, almost all of Gen Z has heard of the benefits of thrifting their clothes. As the atrocities of fast fashion are revealed, thrifting and buying vintage often seems like the only conscientious choice. Shopping this way has allowed many people to broaden their style and find unique pieces. With places like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, the prices can’t be beat. However, because of this ease of access, many people are still practicing negative behaviors and overconsumption. 

In short, overconsumption is when a person overuses available goods to the point that they can’t or do not want to replenish or reuse them. In economics, it’s thought of as when the cost is greater than the actual utility. Today, we see this in real life and on social media as people buy hoards of candles they never light or books they’ll never read. These things are bought simply for the dopamine of making a purchase, or at most for decoration. However, one of the most prevalent places we see this is in the fashion industry.

Fast fashion thrives off of overconsumption. The more you buy, the better. With quick trend cycles and the rise of microtrends, we’re constantly buying new pieces we find fashionable. Haul videos still get hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube and Tik Tok despite our knowledge that continually buying new pieces is not healthy for our planet. As public interest has shifted away from fast fashion brands like Shein or Romwe, thrifting culture has taken over. However, if you really look at the ways people are thrifting, it’s not much different from the way we consume fast fashion. Some people thrift every week, constantly buying new clothes. Everyone from professional content creators to your friends on Snapchat are filming thrift hauls. It’s still frowned upon to outfit repeat, whether that outfit is from Goodwill or Shein. I regularly see people complaining about running out of room in their closet because of all the clothes they constantly bring in. 

Overall, while we like to think thrifting is helping us, we’re still falling into the same traps. The urge to consume and buy is hard to shake off and we’ve simply traded one store for another. Even if we’re thrifting, we’re contributing to fast trend cycles, rapid production, and a culture of constant consumption. Instead, it’s time to buy less and wear our clothes for longer without the pressure to keep up with others. 

Julia LaPlante is the Vice President and Editor-In-Chief of Her Campus Lasell. She oversees and assissts and E and S boards as well as the copy editing team. Away from Her Campus, Julia is a senior English major at Lasell. She works at Lasell's library as she studies towards her Masters in Library and Information Science. In her free time, Julia enjoys reading gothic literature, watching nerdy television shows, and walking in nature. Julia deeply believes in the importantce of mindfulness and chocolate to ones attitude.