Second hand shopping can seem more tedious than visiting a large chain clothing store. There are dozens of companies whose main goal is to provide affordable, on-trend options for younger people. From the outside, these stores seem to be a great option for individuals who want to stay current, but not break the bank. However, these stores often have more negative impacts than meets the eye. Here are some reasons that second hand shopping is the superior option.
1. The Environmental Impact
Second hand shopping instead of going to chain stores can improve your environmental impact. Because chain clothing stores have to keep up with trends and seasons, they produce new items frequently and in large quantities. The quality of those items is lessened to meet high demand. After a while, this poor quality clothing falls apart and ends up in a landfill, where chemical and dyes can leach into ground water. Some synthetic fabrics (which are common in chain stores) such as nylon or polyester are not biodegradable, and will sit in landfills for up to two centuries. The direct waste of clothes is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to environmental issues with the fast fashion industry. According to an article from MIT news, clothing manufacturers also use “1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity or 130 million tons of coal, making the apparel industry a significant contributor to global greenhouse emissions.” By choosing second hand shopping over visiting a chain store at the mall, you are helping reduce your waste and positively contributing to your environment.
2. Some Brands are not Ethically Sourced
In order to offer clothing at such a low price, fast fashion brands outsource their production to countries with less strict labor laws. This means that frequently, the individuals working in these manufacturing companies are payed a very small amount. The conditions in these factories are dismal. If you’re curious to know the effects of the production of cheap products in countries where they are manufactured, the documentary ‘Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price’ is available on Amazon Prime. This documentary provides an in depth look at the negative impacts of large, cheap chain stores. Choosing second hand shopping instead of shopping at large stores is a way to show a lack of support for the ethically questionable practices of large corporations.
3. Retro and Vintage Clothes are On Trend
There are dozens of stores and clothing brands trying to capitalize on the current popularity of vintage and retro styles. Urban Outfitters and Free People are two examples of brands emulating styles from the 60s through 90s. These brands and similar ones can charge high prices because of the relevance of their items, but second hand shopping provides a better option without a doubt. There are many thrift-stores around the country filled with authentic vintage clothing for a fraction of the price of stores trying to imitate the same style. Additionally, second hand shopping provides an opportunity to find truly unique or even designer items on the cheap. Next time you’re considering buying a $80+ pair of bell bottoms from a chain store, consider checking your local thrift store instead. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
4. The Thrill of the Hunt
Second hand shopping can admittedly be hit or miss at times. There is no way of knowing what you might find at a thrift store. The sizes can be sporadically distributed, and some of the clothes can be strange, stained, or smelly. However, the challenge of sifting through the seas of weird family reunion t-shirts and itchy sweaters to find that one pair of jeans that’s four dollars and fits perfectly is rewarding in a way that normal shopping isn’t. Second hand shopping can become a fashion scavenger hunt which makes the process a lot more entertaining.
5. Cost Efficacy
Second hand shopping can save you a lot of money if you’re someone who buys clothes frequently. There are always high quality items for a fraction of the price at thrift and second hand stores, it just takes a bit of effort to find them.