Millenials and Gen Zs today are choosing to shop at thrift stores and are now changing conceptions of secondhand clothing.
Thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army are experiencing an influx of adolescent customers, who are redefining conceptions of secondhand clothing. To older generations, thrifting may be perceived as frugal and unsanitary, but some teenagers opt to shop at thrift stores over the mall.
Thrifting has been around for decades; the first thrift store was opened in 1941 in London. Although initially intended for functionality and convenience, the industry is approaching a new era. In a fad-like phenomenon, teenagers across the country are shopping in thrift stores alongside regular thrifters.
“I prefer to thrift because it makes finding clothes entertaining. Having to really look for something exciting in a heap of clothes makes the outcome more worth it. Easily finding something that everyone else owns at a chain is not as fun,” high school senior Lexi Gomez says. In a society where “fast fashion” stores like Forever 21 are more prevalent than ever, thrifting is a fresh way for individuals to express their identities.
Appropriate to today’s technological climate, the thrifting movement has become especially mainstream through Youtube creators. These individuals have used their platforms to fuel the craze with thrifting video blogs and thrifted clothing hauls, which receive millions of views. As a result, thrift culture has expanded to reach a new audience of younger, environmentally-conscious teenagers.
Apps like Depop, a network for buying and purchasing second-hand clothing, have further propelled the widespread practice. Users simply upload photos of clothing, assign a price, and a shipping label is automatically created by the app. The simplicity and mobility of Depop’s in-app transactions have attracted approximately ten million users to join the global clothing exchange.
With each new generation, the severity of pollution in the environment increases, but thrifting has the ability to generate viable change. For every garment that is thrifted, one less garment is produced.
With that said, it isn’t surprising that many teenagers have joined the thrifter revolution and the trend doesn’t seem to be fading any time soon.
Kate H. Lee, Grade 11
South Pasadena High School