Is there anything more thrilling than rummaging through a second-hand store? The excitement of possibility in the vintage treasure you might uncover. The satisfaction of sustainability and knowing your money is investing in a positive cause. The bargain hiding under a dusty old scarf or a dead person’s jacket, just waiting for you to claim it. Ahhh! Nope. There is literally nothing more thrilling than getting your thrift on!
It’s definitely my Womble at heart that makes the impenetrable smell of mothballs wafting through the air and that inevitable film of grime that layers your hands after touching old stuff more a badge of glory than a cause for disgust.
Foraging through secondhand clothes is an addictive, dopamine-boosting concoction. Combining the quest for something new, creating a completely unique look and bargain-hunting, soothed with the reassurance of aiding the environment.
Any guilt of unnecessary consumption is vanquished by the security that thrifting is an act of both social activism and personal liberation.
On a societal level, it’s a beautiful two-fingers up to the oppressive and prescriptive fashion system; a system that has relied on disconnecting and disempowering us, reducing us to empty vessels, filling us with what we think we need and pushing us to incessant over-consumption and perpetual dissatisfaction.
The speed and fickleness of trends it rapidly churns out is dizzying. It’s not possible to keep up. The whole thing is built to make us feel like we don’t have enough, we don’t look good enough and we need more, more, more.
How have our style figureheads become measured by Instagram likes, donning one-time-wears in attempts to ‘influence’ us to purchase the exact same look? That’s not creativity or style. That’s passive consumption and commercialism.
The wastefulness, the impersonality, the lack of creativity. Gross.
Cyclical fashion trends, intensified by social media, are constructed to compromise our personal power. In obvious – and not so obvious – ways, they tell us what to wear and how to spend, all whilst selling us the illusion that we’re the ones in control. Yet, beneath the surface, it evokes our insecurities and inside we’re battling a perpetual need to keep up and buy something new to feel good.
Many of us are awakening to that illusion and realising that the revolution is thrifting. Secondhand shopping app Depop is making £300mn a year in sales since starting out in 2011.
Wearing secondhand bursts the Instagram-fast fashion bubble. Rather than leading others onto copycat fast-fashion sites, a unique-to-you, thrifted #OOTD inspires a culture of creatively styling and sourcing our wardrobes.
It requires style over fashion and means getting closer to who you are, your identity, self-expression and your definition of your style. Only you have the power to create and play with that.