Thrifting with Threads promotes fashion sustainability

Story and graphic created by Maddi Hill

Donated clothing items scattered around racks and tables, jewelry and accessories piled up, and the rush of fashion lovers is what a typical day looks like at Thrifting with Threads.  

Thrifting with Threads is a fundraiser held to raise money for the Threads Fashion show. The organization sets out a donation bin on campus and asks people to donate their old unwanted clothes and accessories. Threads Fashion then collects the donations and sells them for low prices at the Bovee University Center.  

With the growth of the sustainability movement in fashion, the fast-fashion industry is being forced to recognize their history of waste and its oversized carbon footprint. To combat waste and promote fashion sustainability, Threads Fashion hosts its annual thrifting fundraiser.   

The fundraising committee organizes the event. The committee sets up bins and collects the clothes. Once the clothes are collected, they sort them based on style and gender.  

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the semester,” said Fundraising Director Allison Miller.  

As years have passed, the organization has geared it more towards sustainability.  

“Our planet is dying,” said Producer Rachel Zauel. “The fast-fashion industry puts so much, so much waste into the environment.” 

The fast-fashion industry is harmful to the planet.  

The industry consumes one-tenth of all the water used industrially to run the plants and clean products. According to Princeton, it takes 3,000 liters of water to produce one cotton shirt. Chemical dyes used to color clothes end up in the ocean and make up approximately 20% of wastewater worldwide.   

A study by Beverley Henry, Kirsi Laitala, and Ingun Grimstad Klepp found synthetic materials are the primary reason for plastic microfibers in the oceans. They found that approximately 35% of all microplastics are from the synthetic materials used to make clothes. Plastic is slow to degrade in the ocean, and when it finally does, it creates toxic substances and impacts the marine ecosystem.  

Clothing production also results in high amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.  

Besides the harmful effects the industry has on the planet, the fast fashion industry can also be unethical in its labor. Industries often overwork labor workers with little pay. Not to mention, they subject labor workers to harsh working conditions in an unsafe working environment.  

Over the years, the fast fashion industry has gained the ability to react quickly to trends and make them affordable to the mass population. Brands would pump out collection after collection to keep things trendy and in style.  

Overproduction and consumption lead to cheaply made clothes with short lifespans. This created a cycle of buying and re-buying fast fashion.  

When people continue to feed into the cycle of fast fashion, labor workers and the planet gets hurt. To help combat the cycle, many people have shifted into buying fashion sustainably.  

Sustainable fashion is clothes designed, manufactured, and distributed in ways that are friendly for the environment.  

Some ways to be sustainable include buying fewer clothes and investing in staple pieces, buying higher-quality items that will last longer, buying from sustainable companies, upcycling your old pieces, and buying second hand (thrifting.) 

“We should be conscious and make decisions on being more sustainable. We don’t need to buy clothes just because they’re trendy for two months,” said Zauel.  

Threads Fashion helps fight for sustainability when they host Thrifting with Threads. The event is a great way to get rid of old clothes and get new clothes in a way that’s environmentally friendly.  

“Instead of hosting a fundraiser where we have to invest in resources that aren’t sustainable, we’re using the resources we already have with people who want to help our show,” said Miller.