When it comes to fashion, it is easy to get caught up in trying to keep up with the latest trends. However, looking at the ethics behind your clothing might persuade you to look for your new favorite items in a more sustainable fashion.
We live in a world where you can order a pair of new shoes at dinner time and get them at your front door by the next morning. Those shoes you just had to have might end up out of style in a few weeks and in a donation bin or even in the trash.
Fast fashion allows for the newest styles to hit the market as fast as possible. Shoppers can then wear them at their height of popularity and then discard them when the trend fades out.
This has caused an increase in the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. In a BBC article by Christine Ro, it was noted that the fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater.
Some students are choosing to look outside of conventional shopping habits to update their wardrobe.
Camryn Halboth, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, began thrifting in high school when she wanted to look for unique pieces. “It was a question of how can I wear cute things that not everyone has,” Halboth said.
One thing that made thrifting more attractive to Halboth was that she can support her own ethical beliefs while shopping.
“I don’t have to support companies that are not sustainable, are racist or homophobic,” she said.
Halboth also enjoys going thrifting with friends.
Because of COVID-19, many stores will not let you try on clothing. If you find out an item doesn’t fit you later on, Halboth recommends giving those items away to your friends.
Carly Baker, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, enjoys going to thrift and vintage stores to find one-of-a-kind items.
“Salvation Army has a lot of unique pieces which I think adds to the fun element of thrifting, being able to find pieces that you’re not going to see anyone else wearing that probably haven’t been worn in a decade,” Baker said.
She recommends shopping at consignment stores “even though they are a bit more expensive, you can find a piece that is well taken care of.” She said that sometimes she can get prices lowered if a piece of clothing has some damage to it.
If you are looking for a specific piece of clothing, Baker recommends online thrifting sites like Poshmark, thredUP, and Depop. She said that it was easier to find a jean jacket and Adidas shoes in her correct size online than going store to store.
“It is a little bit more expensive, but I still think it’s cheaper than buying in store, and I like the idea that it has been used because it’s still sustainable,” said Baker.
As Baker got more into fashion she became aware of what it means to consume fashion. “I think when you put together an outfit and it has intention behind it, it means more to you,” she said.
“I think there [are] a bunch of ethical implications behind the clothing you wear, whether you think about it or not.”
The overproduction of clothing is just one issue in the fashion industry. Baker said that the items she has thrifted mean more to her because they were bought in an ethical way, which is important to her.
So, the next time you are ready to update your wardrobe, consider looking beyond your go-to brands and check out some of Omaha’s thrift, vintage or consignment stores.
You might just find an outfit that not only makes you look good but feel good, too.