Thrift Shopping Taking Over the Fashion Industry Again

By Josephine McLaughlin

Thrift shopping is in, fast fashion is out. In the past few years, with the rise of Instagram influencers and also a height in environmental concern, thrift shopping has gone from “definitely not” to “super hot”. However, one may think that thrift shopping would be a current trend whether or not people were concerned about the environment. Everyone knows that trends recycle, they always come back. Parents of 16-20-year-olds have been seeing their children wearing outfits that they would have worn themselves when they were that age. Trends such as high waisted jeans, scrunchies, cropped sweaters, jeans jackets, have been making a major come back.

 People have been thrift shopping forever, but it used to be something that one would keep a secret. Now, people are quick to brag when complimented on something they are wearing. They are quick to boast and respond with, “omg thanks I got it from the coolest thrift store!”. This is because it is the latest fashion trend. The latest fashions right now is anything that is vintage while also comfy and chic. Thrift shopping allows people to be creative and encourages individuality. There is always a certain “look” that someone is going for or trying to copy. Through thrift shopping, people can copy a look that they saw on some Instagram influencer or Pinterest while still adding a personal twist of their own style. Thrift shopping isn’t like going to a regular store where there is an endless supply of one type of shirt. 

A huge trend as mentioned above is getting fashion ideas from influential people on Instagram. Influencers will often do segments on their page where they answer questions from their followers. These questions often being about where they get their clothes and such, and more often than not, the answer is “from local thrift stores”. For the first time, regular people can afford to try and dress the same as people they see on Instagram or other blog platforms. This is because these influential people are getting their clothes from thrift stores themselves. This is inspiring their followers to go out and try and put similar “looks” together. 

While thrift shopping is great for the consumer’s pockets in relation to saving money and has positive effects on the environment, this trend does have negative effects on fast fashion brands such as Forever 21. An article by Sapna Maheshwari for The New York Times on the recent downfall of Forever 21 and their bankruptcy. The executive of the consultancy WSL Strategic Retail, Wendy Liebmann was cited saying, “Younger shoppers have increasingly turned to consigned goods and brands that claim sustainability as a value”. 

Who does this trend interest? It seems that it interests everyone form trendsetters, fashion icons, penny pinchers, environmentalists, and more. Wheaton College student Mackenzie Wear goes as far as to say that thrift shopping is “the foundation of a college students closet”. Her statement is once again proving how big this trend really is. However, don’t think that it’s just a college kid trend. This is a trend popular among anyone who is trendy, whether they are doing it to be cost-effective or not. There are different types of thrift shopping, ranging from Goodwill to high-end consignment stores. These high-end consignment stores that have high-end things in good condition for steeper prices. This shows that thrift shopping isn’t just for penny pinchers, but quality seekers as well. Successful thrift shopping seems to require a bit more time than regular shopping. It is different than when you just go and buy exactly what you want. If you can have a little patience and find joy in the “searching” through things, like a treasure hunt, you can become a pro. This trend can interest everyone. 

This trend of thrift shopping seems to not be finished, but simply just getting started. Renae Reints, from Fortune, states that according to research from the retail analytics firm called GlobalData, “the fashion resale market is exploding, growing 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years”. It’s becoming more and more common for people to be thrift shopping. People love how having to look through thrift stores to find a special item brings out their personal creative side. Will recyclable style ever go out of style? It seems a dumb question. If fashion trends always eventually recycle back, doesn’t that secure the relevancy of thrift shopping?