UF Thrift Club takes on ephemeral fashion

Durability, style and the movement against fast fashion have found another home at UF.

The University of Florida Thrift Club is a “community of thrifty Gators passionate about upcycling and slow fashion,” according to the club’s Instagram. Through education and community development activities such as thrift stores, the club is making slow fashion – ethical processes and resources in fashion – more and more accessible to students.

The club started in July 2020, amid the pandemic. During that time, he has amassed over 1,800 Instagram followers and continues to plan while building a community around fashion and sustainability.

“I love the people of the Thrift Club and the fact that they prioritize and emphasize the importance of slow fashion for the environment,” said Meghan Moriarty, UF member, 20. , major in the third year of preschool education.

While saving is one of his main goals, it is not the club’s only goal. The Thrift Club also seeks to teach students about recycling, reuse and advocacy for decreasing consumption of fast fashion.

The club has organized thrift stores (where people bring their second-hand clothes and exchange them with each other), upcycling workshops (repairing or reusing old clothes) and town halls on topics such as fashion. fast and lasting gifts. .

Fast Fashion is an approach to designing, marketing and manufacturing clothing that emphasizes making fashion trends available fast and inexpensively. In a market closely tied to fast fashion, trend cycles are shorter and overproduction stems from unethical practices, practices that affect low-income women and the environment.

Thrift Club aims to educate students on how to avoid fast fashion while creating a community of people who are passionate about making style more sustainable and ethical.

By facilitating conversations about saving and upcycling in the fashion and sustainability movement, the club has created a community of people whose goal is to spread awareness of the benefits of staying away from fashion. fast.

Valqui Perez, Thrift Club treasurer and the 21-year-old UF fourth-year political science and international studies student, said the club was not just a way for her to participate in one of his side hobbies, but also allowed him to stay. informed about fast fashion and the damage it causes.

“We are currently working on our way to become a formal organization on campus,” said Perez.

The club wants to venture outside the UF and pay attention to fast fashion consumption at the community level. Thrift Club is currently working on organizing fundraisers and meeting with local organizations, nonprofits and thrift stores for future collaborations.

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For Perez, saving has always been a part of his life. Her mother taught her savings tactics early on.

“It’s something I did with my mom growing up,” Perez said. “If we could buy a second-hand item, she would save money.”

As someone who has always saved, Perez noted the difference between his childhood, when there was a negative association with wearing second-hand clothes, and now, with saving seen as fashionable on social media. social.

“While this is great, it has also come with criticism from low-income communities and the larger community,” Perez said.

According to the Western Gazette, when these new, higher-income communities buy from thrift stores, necessities-based purchases are hampered due to “higher corporate structures.” Many companies that sell second-hand clothing have raised their prices due to increased demand from the middle and upper class, leaving low-income people with options they can no longer afford.

With the turmoil of inflation, the lack of clothing, and the rising prices of products on apps like Depop, Perez says saving has become the opposite of what it is meant to be.

Moriarty said she wanted to be more sustainable and less wasteful when shopping.

“We only have one planet and it’s good to be mindful of my decisions,” she said.

Perez said she had similar goals and that with the Thrift Club she said achieving them seemed more possible.

“I want savings to be a solution to rejecting fast fashion and the damage it does to the environment and to the people who make the clothes, especially women in developing countries,” said Perez. “That’s why I joined the Thrift Club.

Contact Anushka at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @anushkadak.

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Anushka Dakshit

Anushka, a third year in journalism and feminist studies. She has previously been published in Local Wolves Magazine and is the Editorial Director of Rowdy Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to old Bollywood music and learning about the ‘processes’ of other writers and obsessing over them whenever she feels like she has no idea what is going on. ‘she does (which is often the case).

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