Why Thrift, Upcycling Are the ‘Only Relevant Conversation’ in Fashion – WWD

Thrifting is officially a mainstream movement in the United States

And National Thrift Day on Wednesday has dozens of new (and longtime) fashion admirers for thrift store history, trend and relevance. Whether it’s the inspiration behind a new fashion design show called “Upcycle Nation” coming this fall, or the resurgence of Y2K brand names and fashion, savings make a number of American buyers.

What is National Thrift Day?

The majority of Americans have purchased something used in their lifetime. And today, everyone from brick-and-mortar thrift stalwarts like Goodwill, municipal waste programs like New York’s DonateNYC (with 30 participating thrift stores) to online retailers like ThredUp, have been promoting messages for National Thrift Day. According to the National Association of Resale Professionals, or NARTS, there are 25,000 physical thrift stores in the United States, contributing to the multi-billion dollar resale industry that is expected to reach $77 billion by 2025.

Although the narrative is increasingly dominated by online resale, America’s early thrift movement has its roots not only in industrialization, but also in World War I rationing and price control. But it wasn’t until Earth Day came onto the scene in 1970 that National Thrift Store Day set an official celebration record. Originally intended to provide financial support to local thrift stores and their charitable goals, the party has since morphed into a broader promotional and environmental call to action to waste less and buy more second-hand.

What designers say about Thrift

More than half — or 54% — of Americans are trying on more retro trends because of the ease of the occasion, according to a recent report from online style platform StyleSeat. Surveying more than 1,000 US consumers, the trends include everything from an affinity for Y2K fashion, sportswear, sporty sunglasses, mom jeans, cargos, tie-dye and matching sets.

For this reason, designers always bet on second-hand goods for the future.

“Upcycling is technically the only relevant conversation we should be having these days across industries, as we see piled up landfills of bottles, blankets, clothes, bags, furniture often with tags still on them,” fashion designer Jérôme LaMaar told WWD. “We live in an age where goods are created quickly and worn once and thrown away. This way of life needs a practical solution that has style and imagination to inaugurate a new way of discovering our second-hand goods.

LaMaar, along with recycling innovator Peder Cho and “Claws” actress Karrueche Tran, are the judges on Fuse’s new show “Upcycle Nation,” airing in November 2022. The show shows how designers and recyclers in grass from across the United States are transforming previously discarded items into articles of clothing with the hopes of inspiring a collective – and stylish – solution to waste.

Long-time economist LaMaar said, “Very often when I wear second-hand clothes mixed in with my high fashion, it later becomes a trend,” likening it to a sort of gift and curse that means parts more dynamic are no longer as frequent. finds. “Thrift is all the rage simply because the level of craftsmanship doesn’t exist at that level in today’s fashion climate. Now I try to buy things that feel magical to my personal taste, like jewelry or cool glasses.

Why Labels Lead, Consumption Crossroads

Unsurprisingly, the hunt for brands and designers drives discount buying behavior.

Data-driven online resale platforms are documenting how branded clothing — names like J. Crew, Lululemon, Nike, and Levi’s — are consistently increasing searches and sales. A recent report from Recurate, however, said fast fashion brands were only the second-highest mid-priced brands in terms of demand. A closer look at data from ThredUp shows that Shein’s inventory alone grew 186% from 2020 to 2021.

“To see fast fashion so high in the priority list of respondents to this report surprises me, but I wonder how the results would be different if vintage were factored into the equation,” commented Emily Stochl, director of the education and community engagement at the nonprofit. Remake, as well as the host of the “Pre-loved Podcast”.

Reflecting on the thrift ecosystem, Stochl believes today’s thrift is caught lamenting the comparative quality and uniqueness of clothing from past eras versus mass-produced and lesser clothing. quality today. She argues that labels — regardless of price or quality — make it easier for newcomers to enter the second-hand conversation.

“Particularly for medium and large thrift shoppers, I often recommend this as a great option to zero in on specific pieces available in your size from brands you already recognize,” she added. “Plus, it’s also an easy way for fast-fashion regulars to slowly transition from buying first-hand to second-hand.”

Yet she is wary of overconsumption. “As second-hand shopping grows in popularity, I think our consumer education for the second-hand shopper will need to focus on reducing buying altogether, so that we don’t just copy-paste the habits of overconsumption.”

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