By Lara Newton
Raking in over $100 billion, the online store Shein was the number one retailer of 2022. While many may recognize it as “fast-fashion,” stores like Shein slow down the progression of our environment, labor force and world as we know it.
According to Fortune.com, “Chinese fast-fashion retailer Shein has admitted two of its sites breached local labor violations and that it will be investing $15 million to improve the working standards at its factories.”
So while consumers are ordering off of this retail website for the convenience and alarmingly low prices, they fail to think about what could be going on behind the scenes.
Fast-fashion is the second most polluting industry, with the oil industry taking the cake. With so many safer options, people still decide to choose the worst option. And while some may argue the inflated prices of our economy have become too costly, there are still cheaper alternatives to find clothing.
For example, I personally love thrifting, which is a more sustainable way of spending. Prices are astronomically lower than the market and you can still find the same brands you love for half the price. Thrifting is typically “used” clothing, but I have found brand new items at my favorite thrifting spots.
Less than 10 minutes away from campus is a Plato’s Closet in the town of Lawrence. A higher end thrift store, providing racks and racks of clothing donated by customers.
I have added so many pieces to my collection that are not only greatly priced, but also unique. You can find one of a kind pieces that you will cherish forever and eventually pass on to others (or maybe donate it to a thrift store).
These pieces have so much story behind them; I like to call them preloved clothes. Their previous owner got their use out of it, until it wasn’t needed anymore. As a plus for the environment, it prevents more pollution from harming our earth.
As a college student, I understand the pressures and limits of spending money. It is so hard to see others splurge on whatever they want while you try to manage how you spend your money without running out. However, thrifting is an alternative that is ethically and morally better for you and the environment.
Online versions of thrift stores have also become popular as of recent. Websites such as ThredUp, Depop and Poshmark offer great prices that allow you to thrift in the comfort of your own room.
Thrifting is an easy way to shop sustainably and a great alternative to feeding into the fast-fashion industry. So before you hit checkout on Shein, just think about the other alternatives that might be better for your wallet, your closet and most importantly, the planet.