Used as the new black: Environmentally conscious shoppers are choosing thrift stores

By Karleigh Stone
Medill Reports

Rapidly changing fashion trends can be harmful to the environment, according to a recent analysis by a U.N. consortium. In what’s known as “fast fashion,” retailers constantly flip the floor stock to match popular styles. That has led to production facilities creating more clothing than ever before.

According to the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe, the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions, 20 percent of global waste water and a large amount of ocean plastic pollution. Once they’re no longer the hot trend, clothes often end up in landfills and many fabrics are not easily biodegradable.

Some consumers have chosen thrift shopping as a way to combat the negative environmental impact. It allows clothing to be recycled and reused. Jill Nachel, a 25-year-old Orland Park resident, is dedicated to shopping this way.

Photo at top: Jill Nachel browsing at Savers in Orland Park. (Karleigh Stone/MEDILL)