A year ago, I made a pledge to buy 90% of my clothing from thrift/secondhand spaces. I wanted to make an impact in my wardrobe, something that is such a big part of my identity. Yet, when I tell people that I thrifted an item they are in awe or do not believe I got it from a thrift store. This is highly problematic for three reasons and we must work to end this phenomenon.
1. It Creates Stigma
When individuals think that thrift stores could not have nice clothing because it is secondhand, I am baffled. I have heard a host of comments related to people thinking the clothes would have an odor, be damaged, or be dated. Nonetheless, thrift stores constantly have gently used or brand-new items. Furthermore, you are able to find pieces that are unique and one of a kind. Yet, without education and first-hand experience, many people make snap judgments about thrift spaces that lead to people having stigma about the quality of the clothing!
2. Shows More People Need To Thrift
When stigma is created related to thrifting it, it always makes me think about how education and experience are key. Many people have never thrifted before or have only done it once or twice. This leads to much stigma because they have never gotten the chance to endeavor into the contours of thrift. To end this, more people need to be taken into thrift spaces to show and learn. Thrifting has been one of the most enriching educational experiences for me because I am able to see that assumptions hinder me and seeing frees me!
3. Limits Our Community
When individuals make disparaging comments regarding items I have thrifted, it limits the bounds of our community. So much creativity and beauty come out of thrift stores. Yet, many do not get the experience those wonderments because they have never gotten the chance to truly experience thrift. We must actively fight against stigma related to thrift and embrace more people.
When people make off-putting comments, do not take them as disrespect, but as an opportunity to get a new thrift family member. Every person can add something special to this community if we let them and steer them in the right direction.
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