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5 Reasons Why Thrift Shopping Is Better Than Supporting Fast Fashion

by Tiffany Chan. |

Thrift shopping seems to be all the craze nowadays, with influencers flaunting their ‘thrift hauls’ left and right. However, buying pre-loved items at discounted prices is more than just a trend. It’s a great alternative to supporting fast fashion, which accounts for much of the pollution and human rights violation in the world today. If you aren’t already a thrifter yourself, hopefully, these five reasons will convince you to ditch flagship stores in favour of thrift shopping.


By Aween store in Shah Alam. (Instagram: @by.aween)


Thrifting is cheap.

Perhaps the most obvious reason of all, thrift shopping can really help you save the big bucks. Research shows that 27% of Malaysians have thrown away clothing that they’ve worn only once. Seeing as most items of clothing cost at least RM20 to RM30 these days, buying first-hand garments can weigh heavily on your wallet, especially if they’re not going to last very long. On the other hand, the clothes at thrift stores cost at least two times less than that.


While many of us tend to think that cheap = low quality, you can actually find some hidden gems at thrift stores if you’re willing to look for them. (Not to mention the wonderful sense of accomplishment when you do!)


Save money? Check. Feel good? Check! What’s not to like?


Thrifting is a great way to experiment with fashion.

If fashion’s your passion but you’re short on cash, then thrifting is the perfect way for you to discover your style. Remember all that money you saved from shopping for cheaper clothing items? You can use that extra cash to get more items to play mix and match with. And if the pieces at the thrift store don’t suit your taste, you can always grab your sewing machine and flip them into a completely different look. Not sure how to do that? Fret not, there are hundreds of YouTube thrift-flipping tutorials for you to refer to. Who knows, you might end up making one of them yourself!


Thrifting is eco-friendly.

Let’s play a little quiz: Guess how much water it takes to make a pair of jeans.

A. 3000 litres

B. 5000 litres

C. 10000 litres

If you guessed the largest number, well, congratulations, you’re right! But take a second to process and understand just how much water 10,000 litres is. That’s more than 10 years of drinking water for the average person!


The fast fashion industry is the second-largest source of pollution in the world, producing over 92 million tonnes of waste each year. In Malaysia alone, a whopping 195,300 tonnes of fabric were discarded in 2018. That’s the weight of 19 Eiffel Towers combined! This enormous amount of waste stems from the short lifespans of fast fashion products, which is what drives the buy-and-throw-away culture.


Buying pre-loved items is a great way to keep them from going to landfills. Resource consumption is also decreased all across the supply chain from production to transportation. Consider thrifting as a fashionable way of saving the planet.


Thrifting is ethical.

Hard as it may be to swallow, the beautiful, affordable pieces from world-favourite-outlets like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara are often produced through worker exploitation. The wages for making a piece of clothing can be as low as 0.1% of its price, and as of today, no multinational retailer can claim to pay their workers a living wage. Countries like Bangladesh and India are full of sweatshop horror stories, with women and children living in quarters that are barely fit for animals.

A garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Source: Vox


Hence, thrifting reduces the need for producing new items. It’s an important step towards breaking the cycle of worker rights violation. So, you can go ahead and post that picture of your thrifted #OOTD without the guilt of starving workers weighing on you.


Thrifting is charitable.

While not every thrift store donates their proceeds to charitable causes, certain shops like Kedai Bless and Bargain Basement do. As compared to fast fashion, which does people more harm than good, thrifting is a great way to help others. At the same time, you are also reaping benefits!


Wouldn’t it be great to know that the vintage jacket you thrifted has actually bought someone a meal, or some much-needed stationery? If your answer is yes, then head on over to these thrift stores to start shopping! (Don’t forget to wear a mask and maintain social distancing!)

Bargain Basement, IOI Mall, Puchong. Source: Says.com


My friends, it’s time to stop supporting fast fashion and turn to thrift shopping. Your wallet will thank you, and so will the planet!

You can find out more about the author on Instagram.

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