The current “thrifting” fad among younger people proves to be extremely detrimental for low-income communities. The growing fad leaves less second-hand items for those restricted to these stores in order to buy basic necessities on a budget.
What We Know
- “Thrifting” refers to the purchasing of items (usually clothing) at second-hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army. These stores collect copious donations of used items and sell them to consumers. The entire process is environmentally ethical and affordable.
- Buying vintage or retro items is not a new concept; however, the individuals purchasing the items are beginning to drastically shift. Buyers who do not financially need to buy second-hand are leaving less and less for those with no other option.
- Depop, a social shopping app, is the perfect example of upper and middle class communities exploiting resale stores. The app is often a platform for individuals to buy used items at second-hand stores to then resell them for higher prices. The entrepreneurship is respectable, and the app remains a perfect spot to find one of a kind items; however, the morality of the misappropriation of these items is questionable.
- According to a 2014 study done by the Atlantic Marketing Journal, 64% of individuals who both donate and shop at thrift stores are 18-34 years old. The average age of shoppers skews younger; there is less of a stigma upon buying used items then ever before.
- It is more important than ever for middle and upper-class shoppers to remain cognizant of the previous stigmas placed upon resale stores and the role they play in dismantling them. Stigmas regarding hygiene concerns or racial prejudices discouraged many from buying second-hand.
- Ethical thrifting is keeping in mind the privilege that comes with going to a second-hand store to “thrift” rather than going to buy basic necessities. Upper and middle-class shoppers can still participate in the fad, refraining from going into lower income areas to find “steals” or buying essential items like winter coats or underwear are both ways to practice ethical thrifting.
The widespread normalcy of “thrifting” among younger generations has great positives for the environment and pushes fashion contributors to start having conversations about the amount of waste the industry creates. Nonetheless, the history of thrift stores and the demographics of society who are impacted by the recent trend should not be once again put at a disadvantage.