shopping sustainably on a college budget

Illustration by Marina DiFranco
Illustration by Marina DiFranco

Sustainability has become a main priority when it comes to shopping retail, but dropping hundreds of dollars on ethically made garments is not in the cards for most college students. Whether you truly want to take part in sustainable practices or social media has caused you to support ethical fashion, here are a few ways to shop sustainably on a college budget.

Thrifting

Thrifting is the obvious answer to all your sustainable needs, but instead of going to your closest Salvation Army or Goodwill, try seeking out your smaller local second-hand shops. Einstein’s Attic, located in the heart of Kent, has unique pieces that are sure to transform your wardrobe. The prices are staggeringly cheap, and you would be giving a new life to an article of clothing that would otherwise end up in a landfill. According to Swift Wellness, thrift shopping “reduces energy consumption, air pollution, mountains of landfill, and keeps our oceans cleaner.” Not to mention it will also make your wallet happy.

Clothing Resale Apps

The fashion resale industry has flourished with the idea of sustainability growing in popularity. Using clothing resale apps like Depop, Curtsy, ThredUp and Poshmark is the perfect way to find clothes for low prices. Sellers are always looking to get rid of unwanted clothes from their closets and usually start their listings at very reasonable prices. Thousands of sellers list every day, so you never know what kind of wildly beautiful piece you’ll come across. Not only are you playing a role in protecting Earth’s environment, but you are responsibly using your money to stay stylish. With the use of these online resale sites, sustainable shopping has never been easier and cheapersounds like a college student’s dream.

Revamp/Recycle

Who says you have to spend money to be sustainable? With a little bit of cutting, sewing, stitching or even ripping, the boring old tee in the back of your closet can easily be transformed into something you will actually wear. Do you have a dull pair of jeans that you dislike? Cut out the front pockets to reveal some skin underneath or sew some funky scrap fabric to the bottom leg openings. Do you have a pair of tights that you no longer wear because there are rips in them? Distress them some more and cut the legs completely off to create fashionable arm warmers. Whatever project you decide to take on, just know that you have the luxury of having full creative reign. Revamping your wardrobe instead of buying more clothes is an eco-friendly way to become more sustainable, and it’s free.

Swap Parties

Until this year, I never really heard of clothing swap parties. A couple of my friends hosted one a few weeks ago, and I thought it was such a fun and sustainable way to add new pieces to your wardrobe. Basically, a clothing swap party is when you get a bunch of friends, family or loved ones together to exchange items that could be of value to others. According to One Green Planet, clothing swaps help “save the world because it’s an opportunity for all those clothes to be given at least one more round of life,” and it’s an excuse to hang out with other fashion lovers.

Quality Over Quantity

I know it sounds cliché to say, but quality over quantity, always. According to The Guardian, overconsumption is “the root of the planet’s environmental crisis.” I will be the first to admit that I have fallen under the spell of fast fashion brands with their ridiculously cheap prices. It is so easy to convince yourself that five $10 tops from Shein are a better bargain than a well-made $50 top. However, that $50 top will last you so much longer than those Shein tops that you will soon throw away. Invest in timeless garments that are going to last you a long time rather than trendy pieces that are soon to go out of style.

The future of sustainable fashion is in the hands of Gen-Z and generations to come. College students, myself included, are always on the hunt for ways to maintain a sustainable lifestylewhile being as fashionable as possible of course. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank while doing it.

Support Student MediaHi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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