Thrift Shopping: What's Stopping You?

  by Lola Boom     

         I get it. It’s Thursday afternoon and you are supposed to go out on Friday. Now here is the deal: you’ve got nothing to wear. Yet, Primark is around the corner, it’s cheap and you don’t have money to spend. Of course, you know you are not supposed to shop there. You heard about child exploitation and sweatshops collapsing in Bangladesh. Also, you are aware of the ethical questions that come with fast fashion. Why would anyone need three different winter coats when people should only care for one good one they can re-use every year? It’s a fact: there are enough clothes on earth. We don’t need to make more.

But, no one is perfect, right? Plus your crush is going to be at the party and you want to look cute and… did I mention how cheap Primark is?

Well, ladies and gentleman, I am here to tell you your guilty days are over.

How could this be possible you marvel reading my words (even if, at this point, you  probably know where I’m going with this)? 

So, a solution? Thrift shopping. Chances are this is not the first time someone mentions this to you. Nothing new will be added to what you might already know. My mission here is only to recap' the advantages of thrift and deconstruct the lasting myths about it. 

Except the fact that it doesn’t smell good. I would tend to agree but let’s move on.

It’s cheap

Always fancied a designer piece or a particularly expensive brand but don’t have the money for it? Thrift is here for you! If you live in Brussels think of checking Episode, Les Petits Riens, Grand Place area or The Brussels Vintage Market on every first Sunday of each month.

It’s sustainable

The black pair of pants you bought at H&M are bomb but after 3 wash they start to fade. On the opposite hand, vintage clothes are made to last.

Buying a better quality brand — at a cheaper price — could be an interesting alternative and that is what second-hand shopping is all about.You can also give away some of your clothes instead of throwing them away and make some money (or give it to charity).

You will look original

Yes. No one else will be wearing that orange hat.

It’s trendy

Damn you, Macklemore and that catchy song.

It supports local businesses

Charity shops are often filled with clothing and volunteer who runs the place. In that case, the profits are given back

You can shop second hand online

Big business is everywhere but this time it might be for a greater good. If you live in a tiny village with nothing but a wifi connection here are some websites you can shop at: Thredup or Asos vintage marketplace
On a plus note, you can also find a lot of alternatives for fur or leather on there!

If you don’t find anything, keep looking

Do not despair and keep an open mind.

However, it should be noted that thrift shopping is not the miracle solution for the underlying issues of the fashion industry.  In recent years the vintage label has become a marketing argument and places have popped up everywhere. This is often referred as Greenification (the humor on this is not lost). Unfortunately, some places use the same tactics of mainstream industries and could potentially create more harm than good. Not enough pieces of information are available on this but if you go to a small shop in your area it is probably okay. A little research or just asking the shop owner about where the clothes come from could inform you before you make the choice to purchase or not. `

Thrift shopping is not perfect but it’s a start. Just start slow and you might fall in love with it as it remains an interesting solution to buy sustainably and save some money.