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Fast fashion is bad for the environment

Why thrifting is more fun and affordable

Photo: Genessa Gutzait

“Fast fashion”—a term used to describe the rapid production of on-trend clothing—has become a common term since the 1960s, when younger generations decided to toss their elders’ drab and boring traditions to pursue a more colorful life. This meant acquiring more colorful clothes to help express their inner hippie, and  thus, 70s-style fashion was born. The increased demand for  trendy clothing forced clothing companies to mass produce new items.

Since its conception, fast fashion has rapidly transformed the fashion industry. There used to be only two seasons for fashion: spring/summer and fall/winter. According to Huffington Post, there are now a whopping 52 “micro-seasons.” That’s a new fashion trend every single week.

H&M has been one of the longest succeeding fast fashion retailers, selling basic clothing like shirts, pants, and accessories anywhere from $2.99 to $39.99. These affordable prices motivate students to shop more than once every fashion cycle.

Production of fast fashion has resulted in an increase of textile waste. The clothing ends up in the landfills, which has been coined as the second dirtiest industry in the world next to big oil companies, according to ecowatch.com.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, though, and it’s in the shape of a pre-owned sequined outfit. Thrift stores, like fast fashion retailers, have been around for decades. They don’t create as much pollution because new clothing isn’t being produced. The clothes rival the affordability of large retail chains. Thrift stores can hold anything from current fashion trends to vintage, one-of-a-kind clothing. Because the clothing thrift stores carry is unique and second-hand, shoppers can acquire a more nuanced style as opposed to buying the same clothing as others at H&M or Forever 21.

“It’s so much better to reuse and recycle clothing instead of producing it,” Casey, a manager at Plato’s Closet in Arvada, said. “Our motto is reuse, recycle, and restyle. We try to be green too, like offering points for 20 percent off to customers who choose not to take a plastic bag.”  Not only does Plato’s carry fashionable, brand-name items, they are treasure chests filled with ugly sweaters, vintage denim, flannel jackets, and more.

College students can be proud of their purchase at a thrift store, more so than their purchase at a big-name retailer. Their money helps the community, the environment, and it helps create a specific style that makes any student stand out in a crowd.

Westword has generously put together a list of the best thrift stores in Denver. Here are just a handful of stores: Plato’s closet at 1485 South Colorado Blvd, Clotheshorse at 4232 Tennyson St., Regal Vintage at 1866 South Broadway, and Buffalo Exchange at 51 Broadway.

It’s not hard for Denverites to ditch fast fashion with the local thrift stores. In doing so, consumers are minimizing their carbon footprint, supporting small businesses, and acquiring a unique style.

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