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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Shop secondhand for a sustainable future

secondhand clothes

Clothes are important. Every day, we get up in the morning and pick out an outfit. It’s a simple and universal habit, but it holds immense importance. Fashion is how many people express their identity, creativity and inner selves.
Clothing also plays a large part in our societal perceptions, and for many college students, keeping up with fashion trends can seem vital. However, where we buy our clothes is just as important, and young people must become more conscious of their consumption habits. Buying secondhand clothing aids the environment, saves money and benefits the San Marcos community as a whole.
Because of the internet, fashion trends are changing and moving faster than ever. In an attempt to meet the demand for new clothes, “fast fashion” industries have become extremely powerful.
Fast fashion industries are clothing brands that produce excessive amounts of clothing but for a lower cost. In order to ensure ultra-productive cheap clothing, these industries abuse the environment by using synthetic materials that do not biodegrade. They also prioritize cheap labor, producing in foreign countries and engaging in harmful labor practices.
The environmental cost of the increased consumption of fast fashion products is making itself apparent. In the United States, over 34 billion pounds of textile is thrown out every year. 66% of those textiles end up in landfills, where it can take up to a hundred years for some of the materials to decompose.
The fast-paced trend cycle combined with the poor quality of fast fashion items has led to people throwing away clothes at an alarming rate. It is easy to throw away clothing, but it is important to consider where these clothes end up: landfills, sometimes gutters and as air pollution when the clothes are burned.
Selling and buying clothes secondhand is a way to keep clothes in circulation and help prevent excess waste in landfills. Thrift shopping usually also takes more time, reducing the chances of overbuying.
Rachel McCartney, a manager at Old Soul Exchange, a local vintage thrift store, said she believes the environmental impact is one of the most important reasons people should shop secondhand.
“[Thrifting] keeps textiles out of the landfills, and it is one of the most eco-friendly things you could do,” McCartney said.
One of the major reasons people choose to buy from fast fashion brands such as Shein, Forever 21 and Zara is because they are cheap and affordable. This is understandable; many people do not have the money to pour into organic, sustainable clothing brands. However, buying clothes secondhand can be an alternative that also saves money.
Thrifting and looking for secondhand clothes is a way to find unique and authentic clothing items without the burden of expensive prices. On average, those who utilize secondhand shopping save about $150 a month, or $1,760 a year.
Saving money while secondhand shopping does not always mean sacrificing quality. Many people enjoy thrifting as a way to find name-brand items, even limited edition items can be found while engaging in secondhand buying.
Texas Shoe Exchange is a shoe store in San Marcos where people can buy and sell limited-edition shoes. The store carries many popular and valuable brands including Air Jordans and Adidas. Through their buying and selling system, shoe lovers can preserve the life value of their secondhand shoes and find editions that one could not typically find by buying all-new shoes.
Shopping for secondhand items can also be a way of giving to the community. Twice Blessed Consignment Shop in The Square is a great shop that sells secondhand items, and the business is entirely non-profit. The proceeds aid the First United Methodist Church in San Marcos.
Have a Heart Thrift Store in San Marcos is another shop that significantly aids the community by giving back. The shop gives proceeds to the Family Grief Center at Central Texas Medical Center. The Family Grief Center is an important place that provides counseling to hospice patient’s families, and the community as a whole.
Shopping at these stores is also a method of supporting small businesses in San Marcos. Stores such as Vagabond and Love Buzz are located on The Square, and they sell valuable vintage items that are unique and all secondhand. These stores garner San Marcos’s diverse range of small businesses, and supporting them is good for the community.
“I’ve always loved the story that goes with a piece of clothing that has had more than one life… also, Vintage clothing is made better, it is better quality and it’s gonna last you longer,” McCartney said. “It is unique, you won’t be wearing the same thing as everyone else.”
Thrifting is increasing in popularity amongst young people searching for vintage and retro items that match an aesthetic, but the benefits of doing this are much more significant than simply catering to a fashion style.
Buying and selling secondhand clothing is a way to combat harmful fast fashion brands from dominating our closets, a way to save money while still finding valuable items and contribute to small businesses in San Marcos.

-Faith Fabian is an English sophomore

The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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