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Thrifting: A sustainable solution to fast fashion?

By: Siya Bhatia

Ever thought of what happens to the shirt, dress or jacket when you throw it off? How many times do you wear it before disposing it off? Well, after reading this article, you may think about it twice.

‘Of all the things we use that harms the environment, the fashion industry is among the top polluters.

Image credits: Artificial Photography 

To be more precise:

  • It produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions
  • In total, up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year
  • Second-largest consumer of water worldwide

Seems like a lot? This is just a glimpse of all the damage the industry is doing to the environment. Not only this, if demographic and lifestyle patterns continue as they are now, global consumption of apparel will rise from 62 million metric tons in 2019 to 102 million tons in 10 years. 

A lot of variation of clothes at low prices seems very tempting. However, the damage they cause to the planet should be noted. Now, the good news is consumers are slowly taking to conscious consumerism and trying to make a positive difference.

Thrifting seems to be the most popular thing right now. If you realize the urgent need to save the planet from mindless consumption, thrifting might be just right!

In the past couple of months, there seems to have been a lot of upcoming online thrift stores, specially on Instagram.

“Everyday brands causing ample amount of waste”

According to report, Zara puts out 24 collections per year, while H&M offers between 12 and 16. These are just two brands. There are hundreds of brands out there in the market that are NOT sustainable and they are putting out new clothes every single week. Now, imagine the waste produced?!

Less than 1 % of used clothing is recycled into new garments. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that every year some USD 500 billion in value is lost due to clothing that is barely worn, not donated, recycled, or ends up in a landfill.

Buying secondhand will positively contribute to the decrease in worldwide textile demand and subsequent waste.

“Thrift stores became popular during and after the COVID lockdown. Even I started my own online store during the month of October. I love fashion and anyone who loves fashion, must realize the amount of waste our every day brands are causing,” said Tarana Jolly who runs an online thrift store called ‘Prud Pocket.’

“I realized I have so many clothes that are sitting in my wardrobe unused. And they could be worn and used by someone else. Thrifting is something everyone should try and in fact stick to it,” she says.

Move towards everyday conscious choices

Thrifting is just a part and isn’t going to completely solve all of the problems. What will are everyday conscious choices.

“I really think that the next generation is becoming more conscious about choosing sustainable lifestyle because everyone now has the access to get aware about the facts plus people are now choosing meditation as a part of their lives which will hence lead to awakening and that is exactly what we humans need to reach our true potential and to think ethically,” said Srishti Khurana, an environmentalist who’s following sustainable fashion for years.

How can you start? “For a a minimum of 10 days, start with not buying anything in terms of fashion, just go straight to your closet, take all our clothes out and just sit,  mix and match pieces, style everything you already own, build friends with whom you can swap clothes,” she added.

Siya Bhatia

Siya Bhatia

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