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Thrifting is the latest fashion trend for Gen Zs. From the thrill of finding unexpected vintage gems to challenging your fashion creativity, thrifting offers a unique shopping experience. Is it time for fast fashion to move over?

The art of the thrift

Is it time for fast fashion to move over?

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You’re getting dressed to head out. What do you pick? The new top you bought on sale last week? Your cousin’s flannel that you couldn’t bear to see him throw out? Your father’s vintage shirt? 

Most of you would probably pick the first. Why wear hand-me-downs when you just bought new clothing? It’s most definitely something the older generations would frown upon. But to the Gen Zs, old is gold. And second hand is the latest fashion trend. 

This Gen Z drops 3 reasons why thrifting is here to stay:

  1. The experience! There is a thrill in digging through piles of clothing, elbowing people out of the way to get a few good seconds in front of the mirror, and throwing on a shirt to see if it fits. And what do you know, it’s perfect. 
  2. Finding something unexpected! Be it a vintage bag that is no longer in production, the sneakers you were eyeing that are now at half-price, a sweatshirt from the 90s that your parents probably had in their closet. 
  3. Challenge your creativity! With some repurposing, these thrift shop bargains could see new life. 

Thrifting is the latest fashion trend for Gen Zs.

A thing to note. The thrifting culture didn’t emerge out of nowhere. It first popped up as a way for people to get by through selling their used items. It was legitimised into charity shops through names like the Salvation Army and Goodwill. They provided an avenue for low-income families who may not have been able to afford retail prices for new clothes. Though thrift stores tided through the many wars, they didn’t gain much traction as people were used to buying new clothing. There was also the stigma of wearing clothes owned by strangers, since you never know where they’ve been.

Thrifting has shifted from buying second hand out of necessity to a fashionable trend. Who says used clothing must be discarded? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and perhaps someone else would love the clothing that no longer sparks joy for you. 

And as a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, it’s win-win. You join in on the fun, and old clothing gets new life. For those reasons, you can be sure that thrift shopping is here to stay. 

The writer is a second year university student who enlightened her older colleagues on Gen Z trends and lingo when she was a GXS intern.