THRIFTING 101: The Basics
Thrifting is simply patronizing second hand items.
In Nigeria, it’s something a lot of people sneak around to do because they don’t want people to think less of them. I know this because, everytime I go to restock for my thrift store, Shop Alma, especially very early in the mornings, I see a lot of people wearing caps and big shades because they’re hiding. Lol. Then there’s another category of people who would never like my posts on Instagram because they don’t want their friends to see that they follow a thrift store, even though they always buy stuff. Then you see this last category of people I’m about to call now, I’ve left them in the hands of God; those ones that would buy a thrifted Zara piece from you and instead of tagging you, they tag Zara. Tears.
In this post, I want to give you reasons why the next time anyone gives you a derogatory look for thrifting, you should look them in the eye and say “This nuh mek nuh sense.” Patronizing second-hand goods is in fact a move to be applauded. Be it clothes, furniture, household items, almost anything. I say this because the benefits of thrifting far outweigh the problems and everyone should thrift. If at this point, you’re still cringing because “How can I wear what someone else has worn before? Eww.” Do me a favour, rid yourself of what you think you know, be open minded and listen to me for the next five minutes. Let me tell you why:
1. Thrifting saves the planet
Look at it this way – one item thrifted, is one less item produced. You see those shiny glow-in-the-dark outfits that make you look like you just got out of bed with Cinderella’s fairy godmother – yeah, those ones. They cost lots of energy that release by-products of toxic gases into the environment during production. From the harmful chemicals that are involved in dyeing those blood-pressure-increasing neon-coloured polyester pants, to the genetically modified cotton used to make their eye-friendly alternatives, the cost of textile production is stack madness. Quick facts from a research in UC Berkeley to back this up:
- The production of synthetic fabrics like polyester gives off nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas which is 310 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
- A pair of jeans roughly cost about 6800 litres of water to make. It’s 6800 not 680, don’t worry, that wasn’t a mistake. Insane right? I know.
- The production process of making one pair of jeans results in greenhouse gases equivalent to driving for over 128 kilometers. Cra to the zy.
There’s more, but I’ll spare you the heartbreak. I hope you get it now. That by reusing one T-shirt, or handing yours down to your siblings or others, you’re doing your bit for the earth and the future thanks you. The rest of the reasons would be shorter and less technical because I’m tired lol.
2. Your money isn’t going to save itself.
I’ve bought pieces for 50 naira before that I still wear till this day. Need I say more?
3. More Options
See ehn, if you want to wait till you have 100,000 or 1 million to have the closet of your dreams, my G, you will sleep there. First, you will think 100k is a lot of money until you actually go shopping with it and come back with 10 pieces of clothes (if you’re lucky). Secondly, how many times do you have that kind of bulk money to change your wardrobe? Be wise G.
Thrifting helps you get a wide range of outfits, from prints to texture to fabric. You have a lot to choose from on a slim budget to make your closet pop unapologetically.
4. Creativity Boost
Since it’s cheap to thrift, you can easily buy a piece that otherwise isn’t your style and experiment with it. That way, you get to try more things, explore, define your style and get more creative with it.
5. Unique Finds
You know that thing that happens when you buy an outfit and then all of a sudden, it’s like someone blew a whistle and the whole world raced to buy the same outfit? It’s so heartbreaking for most, but guess what…Can’t relate, because, THRIFT.
When you thrift, you find a lot of vintage clothes, some of which were made before you were born and I’m pretty sure you’d prefer twinning with Princess Diana to twinning with the whole of Oshodi. Honestly, whatever you choose, I won’t judge lol.
6. Anti Fast Fashion
This point came from a discussion with a designer friend of mine, Obinna. Fast fashion basically entails a grown adult buying tickets for a fashion show to steal ideas and trends from designers, then maliciously going to mass produce these pieces so that people can have access to trends at a far cheaper rate. While this might appeal to the cheapskate in me (and believe me, it does), I find that there are a lot of problems with it.
Mass production usually comes at the cost of human rights. People from the low-income class suffer this the most – poor working conditions, unfair pay, etc. Designers that put in effort and resources to give you that final product also deserve better. Come on. By thrifting, you get to be a hero to both parties.
Alma dear, there’s no way I’m spending $1000 on a Bottega Veneta pair when I can get the exact thing for $50 from Zara….
Lol, I know dupes are a great way to stay on-trend and once in a while I too can’t help it, so here’s the smart way to do it:
When you patronize dupes, say you buy a pair of shoes for $50 from your favourite high-street brand, make sure you give it to someone, or sell it next year when you’re trying to make space for another trend in your closet. You know what this does? At best, it has robbed that high-street brand of $50 because the person you gave it to would no longer need to buy it directly from the store. Now imagine 100,000 people do this – that’s $5 million less funding for fast fashion. By the time it goes around 5 times, that’s $25 million, and now the shoes are either vintage or have come back in style. It’s a win-win.
Did you find this post helpful? Please share.
Also, this is the beginning of a series on thrifting so let me know what you would like to know – where to thrift, making a business of thrifting, how to thrift, etc. You know I gatchu.
Till next time,