I am sure we have all heard of thrifting at some point or another. Basically, thrifting is the act of buying pre-loved items. It is a cheap and sustainable way to get fashionable goods, especially with current fashion trends inspired from different eras. Not to mention the low pricing of the clothes gives you more leeway to experiment with your personal style. In fact, fast fashion stores even try to emulate a ‘worn out’ look anyways, which they charge for exponential prices. Why bother with unethical, expensive clothes, when you can thrift for the same look? Thrifting also benefits the environment as you are buying clothes that would otherwise be thrown into landfills. Malaysians alone produced 195,300 tonnes of fabric waste in 2018. So, by changing our purchasing habits a little bit at a time, it benefits us financially, economically, environmentally. A triple win, or win3!
The only major downside to thrifting is that it takes quite a while to go through all the items. This is especially the case when finding something specific to go with another outfit. Try to avoid this mindset when thrifting, as it usually ends up in frustration and impatience. To avoid such occurrences and have the most therapeutic experience possible, I recommend going with an open mind and a comforting playlist. This makes your thrifting experience a perfect time to unwind and relax. You might leave the place empty handed, but at least you had a good time, and more experience for your next thrifting escapade.
However, some of you might be suspicious of the quality and may be disgusted by the idea of using someone else’s old clothes! I totally understand, given the current pandemic. However, with proper precautions, you can discover hidden gems you would never hope for getting at a reasonable price at common retailers. If you are wary of the cleanliness and authenticity of the items, here are some steps to help you have a more enjoyable experience.
(items marked with an * is added to comply to general SOPs and make thrifting a safer experience for everyone involved)
- Pack a reusable bag, your phone and earphones, hand sanitiser*, disposable gloves*, disinfecting spray*
- Try to clear your schedule for the majority of the day to ensure you are not rushed
- Wear a decently-fitted outfit with the colours you wear most often. It will help you determine if a piece will pair with the rest of your closet
- Pick a store that isn’t too crowded*
- Take your time finding pieces that you like, don’t rush the process
- Once you find something that you like, check the garment for signs of wear and tear. (Up to personal preference)
- Check the sizing for something around your size. Make sure that it will actually fit before you buy an item as most stores currently do not allow testing before buying. If you are uncertain, it is better to look for something else you are sure will fit
- If the store allows testing, try them out over your clothes. Also, spray the clothes with disinfectant (alcohol or otherwise) before and after you try them out.
- At the end of the day, do not be discouraged if you cannot find something that fits your style or size! Instead, feel happy that it will go to someone else who will like it and be able to wear it.
- Put the garments into a big pot. Add enough water to cover the clothes and boil the whole thing. Alternatively, you could soak the clothes in laundry detergent for a few hours. (Make sure to check the garment labels to make sure these methods are safe for the fabric!)
- Following that, rinse and dry the clothes or wash using the washing machine. Ideally, you would wash your thrifted clothes in a separate load from your usual clothing. If not, dont worry about it, the machine is made to make things clean after all.
This article is written in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. IGNITE is in no way condoning going thrifting in red zones. No matter how many precautions you take, it’s best advised to stay home unless for daily necessities. This is merely a rough guide to make your thrifting experience more accessible.
By: Nara Ruslan