Millennials ditching malls for thrift stores

Columnist Kitana Gachero

Columnist Kitana Gachero

With a little bit of creativity and even less money, you can recreate your favorite designer looks without ever having to step foot in an expensive mall. But just exactly where can you go if you’re balling on a budget? Thrift stores.
As of late, thrifting among millennials has become increasingly popular if not the go to destination for lacing your wardrobe with the latest trends. Recently a study conducted by the Atlantic Research Journal in 2014, found that 64 percent of thrift store shoppers are between the ages 18-34. Not only is shopping at a thrift store cost-effective, but it also is a sustainable way of recycling clothes. So before you head to the mall to splurge on overpriced clothing, you can head to your local thrift shop to save money and save the environment.
 According America’s Research Group, 16-18 percent of Americans are shopping at thrift stores while only 11.4 percent are shopping at factory outlets or malls. Within the past five years, the resale industry has experienced a huge increase in revenue and overall traffic to thrift shops.
As reported by the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, Goodwill Industries generated $5.37 billion from over 2,000 store across the country in 2014. Locally, Crossroads Trading Co. based in Berkeley generated over $20 million in sales.
Some of the most popular thrift stores in the Bay Area include Mars Mercantile in Berkeley, Pretty Penny in Oakland and Mission Thrift in San Francisco.
One main reason thrifting is environmentally friendly is that it reduces the amount of waste released into the environment. Specifically, it reduces the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills and incinerators. The 16-18 percent of Americans who shop at thrift stores are responsible for preventing 2.5 billion pounds of clothing from entering the waste stream, according to The Council for Textile Recycling.
The mass production of clothing for many big brands is usually outsourced to foreign countries like China, India and Cambodia. In countries like these there are little to no restriction on the amount of pollution it takes to mass produce clothing that is to be exported into the United States.
According to The Ecologist, a recent Green Peace investigation discovered that big brands like Puma, Nike and Adidas, who have their products manufactured in foreign countries, are also the main source of a pollutant called nonylphenol ethoxylates or NPE’s. The pollutant ultimately contaminates wildlife, water and the surrounding factories.
Considering the mass pollution produced by major brands often appear in malls, shopping at local thrift stores or consignment shops are conducive to a more sustainable environment. Online based retail company ThredUP is a pioneer in the fashion retail industry. Founded in 2009 and now based in San Francisco, ThredUp’s mission is to provide consumers with a easy way to shop and sell high-quality second hand clothes.
In 2014, ThredUP reported receiving 3.8 million items they have sold and recycled. This of which saved 31 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 2.7 billion gallons of water. These outstanding statistics goes to show how much of a positive impact shopping at secondhand stores can make.