Welcome to Rad+Thrift.
A few years ago, I heard the term “fast fashion” for the first time. Fast fashion refers to an industry that is producing clothes at such an alarming rate that ethical and sustainable practices are no longer being used.
This means that most of the brands that I bought were actually using sweatshops in other countries that paid their employees very little and demanded crazy production rates, often at the hand of violence.
When I learned about what was really happening behind the scenes of these major clothing labels, it sickened me. I thought, could I really wear those Gap jeans if I knew that someone was exploited to make them? Could I buy the cheap Forever 21 clothes knowing that someone was forced to make them and possibly beaten? Was my $8 shirt worth it?
Then I learned about the environmental impacts of Fast Fashion. An excess of pesticides are being used to grow cotton. Tons of water is required to grow crops and produce clothing. Water sources are being polluted from toxic dyes. More and more clothing is made from synthetic materials that don’t biodegrade and release micro-plastics into our waters and our marine life.
On top of all of that, we, the consumer, continue to treat clothes like they are disposable items.
This started my journey toward conscious consumerism and Slow Fashion. (Full disclosure: I don’t claim to be perfect in this area. I’m still learning. It’s been overwhelming to wrap my mind around how damaging this system is, but baby steps and small changes have been the best way to approach it.)
Slow Fashion is defined by sustainable and ethical practices. Clothing is made in ways that minimizes the impact on the environment. The people employed are treated well and paid a fair wage. Clothing is made to last. This isn’t too much to ask.
But operating in this way costs. Higher-quality clothes are being made and that means they have a higher price tag. Workers actually get paid a living wage. Systems are put into place to reduce waste and minimize negative environmental impacts. This care and concern costs more than we are currently accustomed to paying.
But this hopefully encourages consumers to be conscious of their decisions, to make wise choices, and to pick clothing items that will last. I believe we are intended to make these purchases as investments, since these pieces will last much longer than the $8 shirt.
I love this idea and I’ve purchased a few items like this. But I found it hard to always purchase something from a brand like this because of the cost. I don’t mind paying it, but it takes a while to save up for these purchases.
That’s where my love of thrifting came in.
I’ve been thrifting my whole life. I love finding treasure in the trash. Oftentimes, I could find vintage pieces that were so unique that I was sure no one else would have them. I was 100% sure I could show up to a party and not be wearing the same Target dress as someone else in the room.
I loved that shopping vintage and secondhand could make me stand out, or at least not blend in.
But did you know that only 10-20% of donated clothes actually get resold? This means that Americans send 10 million tons of textile waste to the landfill each year.
I believe the number one alternative to Fast Fashion is Shopping Secondhand. The benefits are two-fold. 1. Shopping secondhand keeps us from buying into a corrupt system that doesn’t value human life or our environment. 2. Shopping secondhand saves clothes from being sent to landfills (where they may or may not decompose).
Instead of buying so many new clothes, why not wear what’s already available? Why not save some of those threads from the landfill?
I started collecting vintage clothes and just plain rad finds from thrift stores years ago. Now, I have a curated collection just for you.
Rad+Thrift exists to provide an alternative way of shopping responsibly, through collected, rescued, and crafted goods.
We believe salvage can save. If we can change our habits and fight the system, we can save lives, save human dignity, and save our planet, even if in the smallest of ways.
We wanted this endeavor to have social impact, so that’s why we’ve decided to donate a portion of our proceeds to aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries. We believe in giving people opportunities to make a living wage doing something they love and are passionate about.
Our website and online shop will launch on November 6! This has been a long time coming, and it would mean the world to me if you’d give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook, or you can even sign up for the newsletter by heading to www.radandthrift.com! Be on the lookout for an epic giveaway on Instagram to celebrate the launch.
In the meantime, I’d love to know your thoughts on these issues. Were you familiar with fast fashion? Have you thought about who makes your clothes or what your clothes are made from? What is your reaction to these realities?