The First-Time Thrifter’s Guide

It’s an understatement to say that I’m not the most fun person at a party – I’m probably more concerned with whether or not the bottles are being recycled at the end of the night than I am with taking part in Ring of Fire. When people come round to my flat and put the cardboard box our snacks came in inside my normal kitchen bin, I will dig it out to put it in the paper recycling. At work when people throw out food that’s a day past it’s best before without even looking, I shout at them (I’m sorry guys, it’s with love, I swear).

But considering all that, it never really crossed my mind to think about the effect my hobbies might have been having on the environment too.

In recent times, I’ve certainly become more conscious about how to go about my interests in a more ecological way. I’ve started taking less planes and focused on the art of ‘slow travel’ a lot more (which actually, is more just because I enjoy it but hey-ho, it can go under the ‘green’ umbrella too), and I think I’m getting there in mastering eco-fashion too because turns out, it’s easy!!

The fashion industry in general has brought with it a massive negative impact on the environment that many people may not be aware of. The term ‘fast fashion’ was coined to describe the trend of low-cost garments sold by giant high-street brands that consumers quickly ‘dumped’ as the next trend appeared almost instantly, leading to accelerated damage to the environment. 

I think there are a lot of negative connotations attached to both ‘fast fashion’ and thrifting, so I wanted this post to show how by using a combination of fast fashion and second-hand items it the way forward in creating unique, sustainable style!

Everything5pounds

The epitome of fast thrifting and my most favourite way to shop EVER. Everything5pounds take leftover stock from high-street brands and wholesalers to sell them off for just 5 pounds each, with new items being added every single day (talk about fast fashion).

They will cut the labels out before delivering so finding what brand the item originates from may take some guess work, but I’ve previously received items from Boohoo, Topshop, New Look and many more unique wholesalers.

Stock is VERY limited and sells out very quickly, so don’t um and ah over it in your basket for too long or you risk losing it forever!

(polka dot culottes and yellow gingham dress – E5P)

 Vinted

In short – it’s eBay for clothes/accessories only. It sounds like a tedious task to upload all your clothes you’re wanting to recycle, but unlike eBay, there is no time limit on your items so they will stay up until the end of time until someone hits buy!

I’ve made £150+ selling my old items on here so it’s absolutely worth a go.

If you’re just looking to buy new items, there’s also the option to swap your clothes with other members instead of making a purchase. Some of my favourite outfits I now own, I only came across after other members had asked me to swap one of my items, so it’s always worth a browse even if you think you’re not wanting to swap!

Charity and Vintage Shops

The most obvious way to shop sustainably. Charity shops can be very hit and miss.

It’s always worth taking an area into consideration. For example, a charity shop in a large town/city will most likely have more interesting goods than your local village Marie Curie. Another advantage to the bigger stores is that high-street brands and fashion retailers often lend their leftover stock to them, so you can get brand new items at a second hand price.

I think it is also very easy to get carried away in second-hand shops when you see things that are cheap and buy items you don’t really need/want all that much. I usually go in with the ‘would I buy this if I saw it in Primark?’ logic to test if I really want it, or I want it because I think it’s just a bargain.

Vintage shops are awesome if you’re after that ‘one of a kind’ item and love fashion of a certain style/era, but I think it’s important to stay mindful as many pieces are overpriced (revert back to above Primark logic).

(Cow, Manchester)

High-Street Retailers

So, I know that it’s no secret that shops like Primark are rulers of the slave trade fashion industry, but unfortunately I’d be lying very much if I said that put me off shopping there altogether – I love cool clothes and I love bargains, so it’s sadly a win win for me.

I don’t at all think there’s anything wrong with shopping on the high-street as long as it’s not completely wasted. Buying trend after trend just for the sake of it when there’s probably something almost identical already sitting in your wardrobe is just something I think we all need to become more aware of.

Equally, don’t turn your nose up at something because it’s a popular brand/everyone is wearing it! If you love it, wear it!

(Primark)
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