Thrift Shopping

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-By Clara Harrington

Fashion trends come and go but those unwanted pair of jeans stay for good. As tempting as cheap new clothes may seem, the ever growing “fast fashion” industry has a dark side most people choose to ignore. On a surface level, we may pride ourselves on the fact that our off-the-rack clothing choices are functional and straightforward, or that we manage to keep up with runway trends on a student budget. However, regardless of whether we take great effort in your outfits or simply sees clothing as the alternative to nudity, the products we buy have an effect on more than just ourselves. It is estimated that the fashion industry produces 92 million tons of solid waste each year, that immediately is dumped in landfills. Not only does the fashion industry create solid waste, it also is the second biggest consumer of water producing 20 percent of the world’s wastewater. Fast fashion industries commonly make their clothes with polyester- a synthetic fabric that emits microfibers into the ecosystem and leads to an estimated 23 kg of greenhouse gases per kilo of fabric. These unsustainable practices have huge implications for the environment – and by extension, us.


More industries such as H&M, Zara, Nike, and ASOS, have committed to using more sustainable fabrics through recycled materials in order to eliminate wastage.Yet, the problem does not simply lie in the producer but the consumer as well. Although fashion industries may be straying away from synthetic fabrics, fashion is still consumed and discarded at an alarming rate. A typical family in the western world will throw away an average of 30 kg of clothing a year, and only 15% of that clothing is recycled or donated. Ever-changing fashion trends make it easier to fall out of style, leading to a pressure to buy more for a lesser price (but consequently worse quality). This feeds into a consumerist cycle that drives the rapid turnover of fast-fashion pieces, with the lifetime of an item averaging about three years. This fuels an insatiable demand that can only be met through unsustainable production processes.


I love fashion, especially when its cheap. I also have an alarming amount of clothes that I’ve worn enough times to count on one hand. Most women only wear 20-30% of the clothing in their wardrobe and on average only 7 times before throwing it away. On my part, I’m committing to make a lifestyle change. In the past few years I’ve tried to buy most of my clothing at second hand, non-profit donation centers such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. By doing this one can recycle their clothing as well as discourage purchasing new clothes. As those sunny weeks slowly become darker and rainer in Menton and you come to the realization you only packed for endless sun, make sure to look at where you buy that new sweater or pair of boots. Another alternative is maybe to go to Nice and try to find a second hand clothing store that is not merely Dior or Chanel clothing from the 1960s. Most importantly, ask yourself if you really need new clothing or can you last a couple more months before you go home and bring the sweater you bought last year.


For those who love falling in love with clothing here is a guide to all second hand stores in Nice because I can attest it feels just as good or even better if its new to you and old to someone else.


*also the Boncante or flea market in Menton reopens on Sunday, November 11 from 7H00-18H00!


*all the statistics was taken from the non-profit organization:

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