The Ups and Downs of Thrifting


Jayleen C., Staff Writer

Last summer 2020, there was a huge rise in the popularity of thrifting. This was surprising to me for I have experienced first-hand witnesses of people being judged for thrifting. A year ago, thrifting was seen as something only the less fortunate people do. Well, that’s how Gen Z saw it.

Actually, thrifting is extremely environment friendly, a great way to protect our environment while decreasing one’s carbon footprint. As we reuse old clothes, we save the world from an increase in textile waste and limit the amount of pollution in our atmosphere. By choosing preowned items, people limit the number of resources it takes to produce that clothing, limit the time it takes to ship across oceans, and bring awareness to the injustices fast fashion has made towards child labor. This all reduces the amount of pollution and waste in the world!

A main reason why thrifting has become so much more popular is that it has become a popular way to hang out with your friends and find items that are suited to what you’re looking for at a lower price. Thrifting is also a great opportunity for upcycling clothes and turning it into something completely new! Businesses on websites like Depop do just so. There are other websites such as ThredUp, Swap, and Poshmark that allow people to thrift online, without having to leave the comfort of their own home.

Now you’re probably thinking “Woah this thrifting thing sounds great!” Well now don’t get too excited because here’s the downside of it; gentrification. Gentrification is defined as the process of changing a once lower-class area into a wealthier neighborhood by improving housing and attracting new businesses. “What does this have to do with thrifting?” you ask. Well, many more financially stable customers who can easily afford higher-priced clothes are starting to choose to shop at thrift stores instead. As a result, thrift stores are starting to raise their prices. Thrift shopping provides people with limited economic means access to items they might have not been able to purchase at regular brand stores. This is seen in a majority of immigrant families in the U.S.

If you would like to thrift without worrying about your impact on the less fortunate and their resources, a great alternative is to pick a thrift store that gives back to communities in a meaningful way. For example, in New York, there is a store called Angel Street Thrift Store that uses its proceeds to provide resources and support to individuals suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. It is important that we are aware that for some, thrifting is a necessity, not an option.