March 3, 2022

WRC Thrift Is Everyone’s Thrift Store

Fashion.jpg

Gabbi Chavarria
Staff Writer

Fast fashion is damaging the environment. The mass production of cheap clothes, made to be thrown away at the end of the season, has a steep cost. It may seem like a small thing to buy clothes from websites like SHEIN or by hopping over to Target, but in reality, the environmental impact of that small purchase creates ripples in the global community.
Fast fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world, and it contributes to 10% of all carbon emissions produced by humans. 85% of the textiles used end up in landfills as waste since the microplastics and synthetic fibers they’re made of can’t be recycled into other products and don’t biodegrade.
The clothing is produced at such a rapid pace that most companies outsource their labor to other countries with questionable labor practices. A disproportionate number of children and women from low-income and impoverished places are working for slave wages to make that super cute crop top.
The fashion industry, in general, is one of the biggest consumers of water worldwide—and the second biggest water polluter in the world. The leftover waste from the dyeing process is often dumped into ditches or rivers, polluting global water sources and harming the ecosystems that live in them.
“But Gabbi, I love super cute crop tops!” you say. I hear you loud and clear, babe. I do too. I’m also plus size and broke most of the time. Options like SHEIN, Forever 21, Target, and even Meijer cater to those very real limitations that clothing can put on people. But there is another option:  thrifting!
Accessibility to clothing that makes people feel comfortable, confident, and stylish is, in my humble opinion, a human right. Shopping secondhand can give you all of those things and more. In fact, according to a study done by Green Story for the online thrift store ThreadUp, purchasing just one dress secondhand can save up to 21.4 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions, and thrifting a purse can save 267 lbs! 
It can also give back to your community. At secondhand stores in Traverse City, like the  Woman’s Resource Center (WRC) Thrift Shop, proceeds from their retail sales are used to support the (WRC). The WRC provides a laundry list of services including helping survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, providing housing, legal, and medical assistance to those in need, and helping to educate the community in violence prevention. Your dollar at a place like the Women’s Resource Center Thrift Shop is more than just a dollar spent, it’s change in action.
Don’t know how to thrift? Walk into a thrift store and feel overwhelmed and confused? Never find anything that fits quite right? Don’t worry. I got you. Stay keyed into this column to learn how to thrift, where and when the best places to shop are, and how to alter clothes to better fit your body.
We only have this one planet, and we only get this one life. I say be stylish and sustainable for the whole thing.