As the climate crisis becomes more and more dire, many are reflecting and changing the way they shop. Even though there has been a rise in awareness and efforts to buy sustainable items, shopping sustainably in the age of digital fashion can be difficult. Many Gen Z’ers’ social media pages are filled with fast fashion ads and massive SHEIN hauls. College students trying to stay fashionable on a low budget may think websites like SHEIN or AliExpress are the best options. I thought that too; but, in the last year, I have tried and tested several apps and approaches to shop consciously. I have been able to find everything I was looking for, from inexpensive microtrends to vintage basics that will last for years.
One of the most popular apps for second hand shopping is Depop. Its marketing caters towards Gen Z, as many of the buyers and sellers are young adults and teens. It is an app that allows anyone to sell their old clothes, décor, and accessories. My favorite part of the app is the ability to use keywords and filters to find certain trends or styles, which have always helped me find exactly what I am looking for. It not only has secondhand items, but there are many small businesses that create clothes, jewelry, makeup, and art. Depop is a great app for finding specific items and supporting small businesses, many of which were created by other young women.
Good on You
Shopping second hand for everything is almost impossible, but we can still choose the best brands to purchase new products from. A great app that gives the raw and real analysis of whether or not a brand cares about their environmental and social impact is Good on you. Not only does the app measure how environmentally friendly a brand is, they rate if their labor practices are ethical and whether they test on animals. The five rankings they give to each brand and category are We avoid, Not good enough, It’s a start, Good, and Great. In addition to the ranking they give a summary about the statistics they found and why they put the brand in each category. Good on You is helpful in seeing if brands we love treat the environment, their workers, and animals well, and holds them responsible if they are not doing so.
Another popular app for online thrifting is Poshmark. Similar to Depop, sellers post their items and users buy them. It is one of my favorite apps for selling because it is very user friendly. It also ensures that the seller receives their money and the buyer receives their product through several security policies. Poshmark is a great place for brand names or staple pieces, as it is a more mature and less trend-based audience, unlike Depop. Not only have I bought a ton of items on Poshmark, but I have also used it many times to make extra money while clearing out my closet.
The real real
Last but certainly not least is The Real Real, an app for luxury consignment. Most of the products are from well-known designer brands like Chanel, Gucci, or Louis Vuitton. Unlike Poshmark or Depop, sellers send their items to The Real Real and it is authenticated before being put on the app. This is my favorite aspect of the app as buying high-end brands online can be nerve wracking when there are so many scammers or people selling fakes. I don’t buy often here as a college student, but when I have been able to treat myself to designer I always choose The Real Real. Many of their items are vintage or deadstock and much cheaper than buying in-store.
It is not easy to consistently shop sustainably when thousands of fast fashion websites exist, but choosing environmentally friendly stores and buying more secondhand clothes is a step in the right direction. The environmental impact of your closet may not seem very important, but it becomes a large issue when millions of people are going through their clothes and getting rid of them in shorter and shorter periods of time. Not only is shopping sustainably better for the environment, but it also allows you to find unique pieces and get a better sense of your own style.