Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Your Local Thrift Shop is More Than Just a Great Song

Where your money goes is important. This article is just one example of many of how your local department store might be using unsafe and unjust labor practices. Do you really want to be funding that? Do you want your hard earned thirty bucks that you spend on some fancy blouse to be funding little Sara's 10 hour days? Is that an unfair and strangely anecdotal question? Maybe, but the example stands.

The above article is good, but it doesn't go far enough. Put pressure on your favorite brands? Yeah, ok, that can do some good perhaps, as Walmart said it will "tighten inspection standards".  But come on, even Ellen is making fun of Abercrombie and Fitch and I don't see them going out of business anytime soon. (To their credit, they said they would too "improve worker conditions" in Bangladesh, though how much does that really mean, and how can a regular consumer know if that's true?)

I can be a pretty lazy person, so I'm not going to spend my afternoons researching where a shirt came from to make sure whoever made it isn't in mortal danger and/or gets lunch breaks. Instead, I'm just trying not to put my money in ANY store where said money could be potentially funding unsafe and unfair labor.

It's not that hard. It's just called thrifting.

The money you pay to thrift stores/consignment shops can go to a charity, a church, or just to their own local business needs. Goodwill provides job training and employs tons of people who have a hard time getting jobs due to tough life circumstances. Plato's Closet employs tons of people  who have a hard time getting jobs due to prominent facial piercing.

By shopping at a thrift store, I can feel confident that my money isn't going towards something I'm morally against (unless those sweet church ladies that tell me their thrift store funds a homeless shelter are secretly running a meth lab, which is entirely possible).

Thrift stores are also great because:
1. You won't show up to a party wearing the same thing as someone else (see Macklemore)
2. You are recycling, which we all know is an automatic gold star
3. You can be seen as artsy and original
4. Thrift stores are called "op shops" in New Zealand, which is cute
5. You can "fight the power" by bucking big corporations and consumerism!
6. It's so. much. cheaper.

And if thrift stores aren't fulfilling your clothing needs, check out Free Stores (or free store events) or Clothing Swaps (usually to be found in major cities - I know NYC has some!)  I have gotten some of my very favorite clothes at free stores.

Some bros check out a belt at a Free Store Event I held at GWU

Oh hey, cute tops

Free and Thrift stores have all sorts of treasure! 

And you can always go with the traditional hand-me-downs. Don't turn up your noise at your mama's old '80s blouses - in a few years they'll be vintage and you can be all hipster.

So fight that power, be a responsible consumer, be as hip as Macklemore and have a lot more extra cash to do more important things like travel or buy late night Waffle House.

Here's me rocking a fully thrift store/hand-me-down outfit
(except for the shoes) for my first day of school 
in the other Georgia 

Completely thrift, other than the scarf. (The deck was also bought new, I believe.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment