Think sustainably when you shop


Amanda Swartz, Editor-in-Chief

The majority of my closet is thrifted. Some people get overwhelmed walking into a thrift store. Me? The challenge of finding the perfect fit excites me. Whether I’m at Wasteland, Crossroads, American Vintage, Goodwill, or the flea market, I could sift through eclectic racks of clothing all day. You can’t find ten of the same dress or a variety of sizes for one type of shoe. The odds may or may not be in your favor… depending on the day… or the season.

Not only do I find thrifting to be a better alternative shopping at a fast-fashion store because of their poor and forced labor conditions, but also buying reused clothing is quite good for the environment. According to National Geographic it 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt, “enough water for one person to drink for 2 ½ years.” 

I know that another concern about thrifting is the cleanliness aspect of sustainable clothing. But, come on guys… let’s zoom in on this. Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie and Fitch, which are typically considered “clean” stores were both shut down temporarily in 2010 due to bed bug outbreaks. 

Think about the pros and cons here. Pros: save water, reduce carbon dioxide footprint and waste, and have less remorse about contributing to child labor. Cons: maybe you’ll have to throw a t-shirt in the washing machine. One more thing… we all know vintage clothing is quite the trend right now. There’s really no difference between shopping at the flea market (which I know you all love) and buying similarly used clothing from goodwill. If you adore vintage, you shouldn’t have any problem with shopping other second-hand clothing. I’ll let you in on a secret… vintage clothes are second-hand.

Need even more reason to convince you to shop sustainably? Personally, I think thrift shopping can cause a dopamine rush. When I’m in Wasteland (one of my favorite consignment shops) and I flip a stunning pair of Golden Goose sneakers so I can peak the bottoms, and I see “size 7,” pure elation enfolds. Half price and my size? Yes, please.

Still not completely sold on thrifting? Try looking into sustainable clothing stores instead. One of my favorite brands, Reformation, sends an email with statistics on how many resources you save by shopping with them. They pride themselves on sustainability, and they should too. I ordered two dresses from their online store and received email confirmation saying that I saved 28 pounds of carbon dioxide, 702 gallons of water, and 2.3 pounds of waste by buying there.

Just last week, for my own fun and my mild mitzvah of the day, I ordered a stunning blue-and-white Reformation dress for my senior portraits. I assure you; it was quite clean and fit perfectly. When I walked into the studio, my photographer exclaimed, “Where is your dress from?!” After I answered, “Reformation,” she responded, “Oh, that’s why I love it.” She then proceeded to show off her sustainable Veja kicks and thrifted denim shorts. So cute! Let’s all bond over sustainability. Shall we?