is „going thrifting” or buying from thrift stores sustainable fashion?

what really is sustainable fashion?

The Sustainable Fashion movement aims for sustainability in the fashion industry, strongly opposing Fast Fashion, a terrible business model that produces 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of global wastewaters, polluting our rivers and seas. This planet-killing business practice is also responsible for the buy-n-throw and excessive consumerism culture that pollutes our soil and waters with tons of textile waste, as 85% of all Fast Fashion garments are thrown each year.

Sustainable Fashion differs from Slow Fashion in the path it takes to achieve sustainability in the fashion industry, while Slow Fashion focuses more on clothes that are produced with slower manufacturing cycles, fair tradeand supporting smaller businesses, while also caring for the sustainability and quality of its garments, Sustainable Fashion puts a little more weight in the ecological impact of its clothes, using organic, recycled materials like organic ring-spun cotton and other environmentally-friendly biodegradable materials.

At the end of the day, all these anti-fast fashion movements want to achieve the same thing, they just differ in the path they take and on what they consider more important. For example, Ethical Fashion focuses more on the welfare of textile workers, who are exploited in the Fast Fashion industry with inhumane wages and terrible working conditions, many times reaching modern slavery.

what exactly are thrift stores and what does „going thrifting” mean?

A thrift store is one that sells gently used garments and other items at a discounted price, it’s like a second-hand store if you will. Everyone knows what a second-hand shop is, well a thrift store is no different than that.

„Going Thrifting” as you may have guessed, is the act of buying thrift items at the store, nothing more, that’s pretty intuitive. Now that you know this, is there any difference between thrift stores and second-hand stores?

Well, actually yes and many people do not know this. A thrift store sells items that have been donated to a charity, the store is usually run by the same charity, at very low prices, while second-hand shops are just second-hand clothes sold at a higher price than thrift clothes but still low-priced.

The objective of thrift stores is to raise funds for that charity, rather than just satisfying the needs of their customers. A second-hand store as you may know focuses on selling the items, what cash flow of its activity is used for depends on each store.

Now that you know the difference between these two terms, how about we discuss why buying from these stores is considered Sustainable Fashion and the positive impact they have on our planet.

What Exactly Are Thrift Clothes And What Does Going Thrifting Mean

how buying thrift clothes is considered sustainable fashion

There are many reasons why buying thrift clothes is considered sustainable fashion, so we will name a few of them to clear that out. Having said this, here are 5 reasons why buying from thrift stores is considered Sustainable Fashion:

  1. You are supporting charities, as we said before, these stores donate their revenues to a charity, or even charities themselves run the stores. So every time you buy a garment or any other item from here you can be sure your money spent will go to a charitable cause, and the best thing is Uncle Sam won’t be taking any part of that, as these charitable causes are exempt from taxes (So every penny will go to helping others)
  2. You are giving those garments a second life, we have discussed previously how important it is to give clothes a second life, as creating a new piece of garment (Especially Fast Fashion garments) supposes a big environmental impact on the planet. By buying already used, perfectly wearable items you are saving yourself a good amount of carbon footprint.
  3. You will be saving yourself a lot of money, which is a great thing, but it is especially a great thing if we consider that the extra money you have can be spent on improving your habits and achieving a sustainable lifestyle. Remember that a lot of people turn down sustainable practices because they don’t think they can be financially able to pursue them.
  4. You will find great garments that will help you create your capsule wardrobe, you can even find very cute clothes that someone chose to donate that will fit perfectly in your closet, aligning with your style. You can also find pretty weird items but that is just the beauty of it, some people love it, others don’t.
  5. You will develop good habits, both spending habits, and moral ones. You will get more familiar with sustainable, non-fast fashion clothing and with not spending money on things you don’t need or expensive items that could be found elsewhere. These are great habits everyone should have that will improve their lives a lot, both morally and monetarily.

Overall, buying from these charitable stores is a great thing that will benefit you and others in many ways, but there are unfortunately also some cons to buying from these stores, and that is something we shall see next.

cons of buying cheap clothes from thrift stores

We have discussed that buying from thrift stores is a great thing that will benefit both your wallet and our society. But, what are the cons of it? Here are the biggest cons of buying items from thrift stores:

  • You are still contributing to fast fashion, even if you are buying used clothes, giving them a second life, you are probably buying fast fashion items, which, as we discussed in our other articles on the subject, do not stop polluting this planet not even after we’re done using them. So this is something to keep in mind.
  • Should You be a Buyer or a Donor? This is a question you should ask yourself keeping in mind your socio-economic status, these affordable items may be for people with a lower economic status than you, who need affordable clothes more than you. Not saying you shouldn’t contribute, but you should ask yourself if you should better be a donor to these stores and use your money to buy some more sustainable clothes.
  • Sometimes it is hard to know to which charity the money is going, this doesn’t usually happen but sometimes these stores are not so transparent with the public, which is a huge red flag. Always try to choose stores with a great reputation that you trust and know will handle your money in the best way possible.

These are some of the cons of buying from thrift stores, we don’t want to say that you shouldn’t buy from them, but rather keep these three points in mind the next time you are going „thrifting”. One of the big takeaways here is that you should also consider being a donor, not only a buyer.

Cons Of Buying Cheap Clothes From Thrift Stores


We hope that you have learned a lot today because we did as well. Now that you know all of this about these charitable stores, how about you check out our other articles on Sustainable Fashion or Fast Fashion? We have plenty of those so you can enjoy 🙂

We are thrilled to teach people all around the world 🙂 Also, did you really know what Fast Fashion really is and its terrible consequences for the environment, the planet, the workers, society, and the economy? Do you know exactly what the Slow Fashion or Sustainable Fashion movement is? You should really take a look at these articles about this forgotten and unknown but very urgent and important subject, click here to read „Can Fashion Ever Be Sustainable?”Sustainable FashionEthical FashionSlow Fashion or Fast Fashion 101 | How It’s Destroying Our Planet because knowledge is one of the most powerful strengths you can have, while ignorance is your worst weakness.

We also have a big surprise for you! Because we want to give you the right to know us better, we have prepared a carefully dedicated About Us page where we will tell you who we are, what our mission is, what we do, a closer look at our team, and many more things! Do not miss this opportunity and click here to check it out. Also, we invite you to take a look at our Pinterest, where we will pin everyday sustainable fashion-related content, clothing designs, and other things that you will surely love!