Thrifting combats fast fashion

Thrifting combats fast fashion
Ana McCabe is a senior journalism and environmental studies double major.

Trends are a constant flow of recycled past styles combined with original, present-day ideas.

Mom jeans, first appearing in the late 20th century, are once again a popular pants choice. The 1960’s oversized graphic tees are considered “in fits.” I cannot wait until we bring back those cute mini bowler hats of the 1940s. OK, maybe that one is a little extreme. But I want to emphasize that fashion is not a stagnant concept of society.

While sites such as SHEIN are convenient and affordable options, the detrimental effects their products have on the environment last much longer than the latest fashion trends. According to, “92 million tonnes of textiles waste is produced every year... If this trend continues, the number of fast fashion waste is expected to soar up to 134 million tonnes a year by the end of the decade.”

Fast fashion sites compromise durability for cheap material and quickly made products.

Over the past 15 years, the number of times someone wears a piece of clothing has decreased by about 36%. Currently, most clothing items are worn seven to 10 times before their owners throw them out.

Fortunately, students at Augustana are hopping on the thrifting trend to help combat fast fashion. Augie Thrift is a new club working to develop Augustana into a more sustainable campus. Juniors Grace Lenning and Libby Breckon, the club’s co-founders, have high hopes for Augie Thrift’s future impact.

“We are trying to combat the fast fashion issue where trends end up in the trash,” Lenning said.

Augie Thrift plans to sell donated clothes and dorm items in the Tuve basement. Imperfect materials, such as clothing with small tears or stains, will be sold at a discounted price. Articles that are not sold will be recycled or donated to the Sioux Falls community. Buckets are conveniently located in lobbies of dorm buildings for students to donate items.

“With anything that can’t be sold back to students, we want to teach people how to repurpose it or up cycle it to be more sustainable so that way it doesn’t just go in the trash and not get used,” Breckon said.

Lenning and Breckon said Augie Thrift’s grand opening will most likely take place before the end of the fall semester. Augie Thrift will open once a month, and gradually increase to more frequent hours, such as once a week to daily hours after classes.

The profits the club gains will go toward supplies, with hopes to donate excess revenue to local organizations focused on sustainability.

“The more things that end up in landfills, the more methane it produces,” Lenning said. “This is one way our campus can help prevent the amount of carbon emissions we are causing. It’s also a way for students to learn about sustainability and why it is important.”

Lenning and Breckon said they hope Augie Thrift will teach students that a sustainable lifestyle is built by the small choices one makes throughout each day.

“A lot of people don’t know where to start and they don’t know why,” Breckon said. “For us, to have something that is easily accessible and also provides facts like that to students is important. It makes a bigger impact than you probably think.”

Thrifting gives recycled and reused materials a new life. Whether it be an empty container of ice cream or an old jar, Lenning and Breckon said they believe this perspective should be implemented with all items. Practicing sustainability can set an example for others.

“Stay encouraged that your individual actions can make a difference,” Lenning said. “It seems like there needs to be big changes that you as an individual can have an impact on. But there are a lot of things that when you do this individually or get one or two friends to do it with, you can get a bigger group to do it, then a whole campus, then maybe a city initiative.”