In the age of a pandemic and climate crisis, shopping for second-hand fashion has become both a difficult task and a necessity. While functioning in a world of social distancing and quarantines, it has become easier to splurge on online fast-fashion shops such as SHEIN or Zaful- websites that offer the newest trends at the cheapest prices. It is easy to forget that there are alternative options to purchasing fashionable, higher quality items at inexpensive rates- thrifting!
Although it is difficult to thrift during a pandemic- as it might be a concern to purchase and wear someone’s old clothes in a time when everyone is afraid of germs- there are safe ways to buy second-hand fashion during COVID-19. Not only is thrifting less of a financial burden, but it also is more ethical for the environment. For an attribution as significant to daily life as one’s wardrobe, fashion can and should be one of the most ethical practices in our roles as consumers. As climate change, abuse of factory workers, child labor, animal cruelty, and low wages continue to paint the fashion and beauty industry in a bad light, thrifting has become a smart alternative to unethical consumption. In today’s economy, your dollar is your vote; as it is important to be entirely aware of how you are voting in elections and political affairs, one should also be aware of what their dollar is supporting. So why not use your cash towards something you can feel good about: cute clothes, recycling waste, and a cheap, moral purchase!
There are a variety of apps focused on selling second-hand clothes. My favorites are Depop, Poshmark, and Curtsy. Although Curtsy is tailored specifically for women, Depop and Poshmark offer vast collections for women, men, and kids’ clothing. Each app allows the user to create their own “DNA”, which customizes each personal feed based on the sizes and brand preferences of the user. The apps also allow users to contact sellers and ask questions about the item they are interested in and even negotiate prices. Like online fast fashion stores, you can search for specific colors, styles, and items on these apps. You also do not have to leave your house as the clothes you purchase are shipped to you, contactless! With prices that are just as cheap and clothes that are just as cute as online fast-fashion stores, why wouldn’t you be interested?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t addicted to these apps! I have found so many fashionable items for a great bargain: a Brandy Melville skirt for $10, Steve Madden boots for $18, a Champion sweatshirt for $8, and a Forever 21 Dress for $5. Despite concern that the items may not fit, being able to contact the sellers and ask more specific sizing questions about the items assured me a successful purchase.
If you’re anything like me and become obsessed with thrifting on these apps, don’t worry about the hole you might burn through your wallet! You can sell your clothes too! Everyone has items in their closest that they’ve outgrown, either physically or fashionably. Instead of throwing them away, try to sell them! Not only will you profit, but by avoiding the production of waste you will also help protect the environment.
However, if selling is too much work for you, I suggest donating your unwanted clothes to a local clothing closet. People are always in need of clothes- especially during the Maine winter season. You can also contact your local Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, or Salvation Army to see when and if they are taking items! Happy thrifting!