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Thrifting Is Sustainable But Not Inclusive. Why Is Ethical Fashion Inaccessible For Most People?

October 30, 2022 | by Mehak Walia
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The new trend which is taking over the fashion world is thrifting. While scrolling through your Instagram reels you must have seen some pages working in this sector. This concept of second-hand fashion is becoming popular and also desirable among young shoppers. Social media platforms like Instagram are giving it the push an e-commerce business requires. Thrifting is simply the trend of selling online second-hand clothes and household goods. 

With increasing access to the internet, increasing environmental consciousness and increasing demand for fashionable and affordable clothes, thrifting has gained ground on social media platforms. Many online stores have popped up, making thrifting one of the fastest-growing sectors in the global fashion marketplace. Increasing accessibility to social media has made it easier for sellers and buyers to interact from around the country, making thrifting a viable business. 

Why Is Everyone Suddenly Thrifting? 

Everyone has been thrifting lately and there could be a lot of reasons for this. One reason is that the world has become a little more public and materialistic than before. Now, everyone cares about their wardrobe and wants to seem fashionable. Above that, no one wants to repeat their outfits. But for those of us who don’t have a fairy godmother to whip up some new clothes, this desire can burn a hole in our pockets.

Therefore, the more affordable option of thrifting is a lifesaver for us. Another reason is the increasing awareness about the impact on our environment of huge amounts of waste generated by us. People are growing more environmentally conscious and are increasingly believing in the idea of reusing, recycling and reducing. Thrifting sounds like the best solution to our fashion problems, doesn’t it? But it also has some major limitations that we all seem to have overlooked. Let’s discuss them in detail. 

What Are The Problems With Thrifting?

One major problem with thrifting is that it isn’t very inclusive. The options are limited and most of the time there isn’t a lot of variety in size or for different genders. This lack of inclusivity makes it much harder for people to thrift.

You see, a few weeks ago, I wanted to buy a black formal dress for an event that I planned to attend soon. But, buying nice things at an affordable price is always a bit of a hassle, especially when you’re like me. My friends suggested thrifting but being a plus-sized woman is always a hassle when it comes to thrifting. I visited a famous thrift store and couldn’t find anything in my size except a few T-shirts. I also checked online and ultimately, I had to buy a new and expensive dress because this lack of inclusivity is awful for us.

This occurs with a lot of others as well because thrifting stores also lack gender inclusivity. There are a lot of clothes for women while clothes for men are rare. Similarly, other genders have a hard time finding appropriate clothes too. It also lacks age inclusivity because only people from ages 15 to 30 find clothes easily. What people don’t understand is that this dissuades a lot of people from thrifting and makes it harder for most people to have access to ethical fashion. This World Thrift Day, we really need to change this!

What Can We Do About This?

Well to be very honest, while the lack of inclusivity is awful and unfair, this isn’t a problem which cannot be solved. The simple solution for this is that more and more people should opt to resell their clothes while in a good condition than discarding them or turning them into useless cleaning clothes. There are platforms and websites available now for you to re-sell your old clothes or household items. There are a lot of pages on social media made for the same reason too.

Also Read: 13 Investment Pieces Every 20-Something Needs In Her Wardrobe

If we allow this industry to grow by buying more from thrift stores, we will save so many labour hours, significantly reduce landfills and contribute towards controlling pollution. Thrifting is the way ahead, a solution and a midway between our fashion needs and the environment’s needs. The hype it is getting isn’t overrated or undeserved, we need to support it as much as we can and work towards making it as size and gender inclusive as we can. This can be a great fashion movement because only together, we can!

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Mehak Walia

Mehak Walia is an author and journalist who is addicted to psychology, true crime, Netflix, sarcasm, and makeup!

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