The Queen of Thrifting

Fall is just around the corner so out go the short-lived-in summer clothes and in come the pants, boots, and sweaters. If you’ve invested in quality pieces, classic enough to return in style every year, then your job is made easy.

If you have a mix of classic with fashion, that’s cool, too. But all fast fashion? Boy, that’s tougher. Stuff that not only seems woefully out of date but also seems to have developed loose threads and a sag from being put away for a few months. It’s not a joy to put back into the closet, never mind wear again.

Ella Kim-Marriott.

Ella Kim-Marriott.

We’ve posted about fast fashion here and here. Cheap and trendy clothing has a huge negative impact on the environment as fibers are not easily decomposed and the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of clean water (lots of water is used by garment factories and the toxic chemicals used in garment production is dumped into nearby rivers and oceans in countries that don’t have strict regulations. In other words, countries where it’s cheap to make cheap clothing.).

We are heartened to hear about people like Ella Kim-Marriott who was featured on the CBC earlier this week. Kim-Marriott is a 20 year old University of British Columbia student who challenged herself not to buy any new clothing.

“I did it for a full year and then I realized there was no way I was going back to buying any fast fashion,” she told the CBC. “It was really easy and it really wasn’t that big of a sacrifice for me.”

Kim-Marriott said she realized the damage of buying fast fashion when she watched the documentary The True Cost. It’s about production in the fashion industry and its unsustainable practices down the line, starting with factory employees who do not receive fair wages and work in poor conditions.

While some have been thrifting for ages, it’s a good thing the practice is seeing a resurgence. As we’ve mentioned, clothing makes up for roughly half of all textile waste in landfills (the equivalent to 44 T-shirts per person according to a  Metro Vancouver waste study). Discarded clothing leaks chemicals and dyes into the environment. Metro Vancouver has suggestions for your unwanted clothing right here.

“There’s a trend of moving toward pro-ecological behavior,” said Kim-Marriott who has bought used for four years now. “When I was in elementary school, I was starting to think about the ozone layer, climate change and recycling, but I didn’t really know the bigger picture of it. And it wasn’t really something that was being taught to us.”

Ella, you are awesome.

Ella has some thrift store shopping tips for you right here.

If you’d like to be a part of the movement but find thrifting to be icky, check out some great vintage stores where people with an eye for fashion have already done the work for you! Here’s a list.