by Abby Gray ’18

Have you ever been hesitant to set foot in a thrift store? You’re not alone. Many people shy away from the endeavor of thrift shopping because of anything from a fear of germs or lice, to simply preferring their clothes brand new. But thrift shopping isn’t all bad news. It has a number of benefits that are just too awesome not to consider.

First of all, it’s cheap! If you’re looking for a new fit but you’re not too hot on cash, try walking into a local thrift store. You’d be surprised to find that most of them have a wide variety of clothes including high-end brands. No promises that you’ll find a brand new Anthropologie sweater for $5 or anything– especially at higher end consignment stories– but because of its second hand nature, thrift store shopping always comes at a fraction of the cost.

Need another reason to try being thrifty, what about human rights? Worker rights and and labor laws are poorly monitored in the countries where big companies mass produce their clothes, which means many of the people making your clothing are in bad working conditions, with long hours and poor pay. Also, chemicals and dyes from mass production textile factories and sweatshops have made their way into water sources in China, creating what have been named Chinese “Cancer Villages”. These places don’t have safe drinking water and aquatic animals are severely harmed, all because your favorite chain stores are trying to make as much clothing as possible, for as cheap as possible. I know what you’re thinking, “But aren’t the clothes at thrift stores from those cancer-creating chains?”

Technically, yes. But by buying the chain’s clothing second hand, you’re cutting off profit to their store, forcing them to reconsider their manufacturing policies because they’re causing the store’s target audience to walk away. So, next time you’re picking out a new outfit, try walking into a thrift store, it might just surprise you.