Article and Photography by Sara Jacalone Pennsylvania Issue 23 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Fast fashion dominates today’s clothing retail industry so heavily that consumers have almost no choice but to feed into the evil cycle. Some stores in the malls and online fall under the category of "fast fashion"; as they swiftly pump cheap clothing into their stores to keep up with trends. These pieces are mass-produced in foreign factories by garment workers under conditions blatantly violating human rights. If the harsh chemicals and dyes used to produce these clothes were not alarming enough, think of the tons of pieces that end up in landfills as they are pushed, unsold, off of shelves to make way for the next fad. Ultimately, fast fashion is trampling us with its ever-growing carbon footprint.
How can we, as individuals, combat this enormous issue? The answer: By adopting a sustainable style. Sustainable fashion strives to create clothing through more environmentally conscious and socially ethical means. We can make our contribution by thrifting, upcycling, and weaning our dependence on fast-fashion brands.
Fashion is cyclical. Trends always make their way back. Don’t wait for your favorite stores to come out with a new pair of 90’s inspired mom jeans, wander into your local thrift store and buy a pair of jeans that someone’s mom actually wore. And end up paying a fraction of the cost!
Grace (right) wears a thrifted silk button-down, a thrifted belt with a butterfly embellishment, and barrettes hand-made by an Etsy shop owner. She distressed her Levi jeans herself! Nadia (left) also wears a thrifted chain belt (like one seen on Bella Hadid!) and a hand-made key necklace.
Thrifting is the perfect way to sustainably buy clothes at fast fashion prices.
Secondhand shopping doesn’t have to be beat-up t-shirts and someone’s ratty old dress. Instead, think of it as a hunt for treasure and an opportunity to nurture your own personal style. There aren’t models covering the walls donning the "most in-style" pieces. Thrifting environments put you in charge of your style.
Madison Dedieu, Olivia Sexton, Jordan Hahn, Caroline Alegado, Eva Martinez, and Kelli Robertson demonstrate how you can get an entire outfit (and props!) for under $20 at most thrift stores, regardless of your style during their Thrift Store Fashion Wars Challenge during iTi STYLE Weekend!
Another plus: never again will you worry about wearing the same outfit as someone else. If you’re creative, you can even upcycle your own old clothes to make them into brand new, original outfits. Distressing an old pair of jeans will give the same effect as any name brand ripped denim.
Next time you find yourself on the hunt for clothing, consider ways you can make your wardrobe more sustainable.
Before buying brand new, take a peek at a nearby thrift store, you never know what you’ll find.
Sara in her Thrift Store Fashion Wars Outfit - Purchased for $19.00 and included her shoes, 2 shirts, shorts, and a watermelon saltshaker!
Sara's article and images were published in issue 23 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!