Students prefer thrifting to fast fashion

Anisa Salazar
Staff Writer

A recent informal survey found that 19 out of 25 students at the University of La Verne, prefer thrifting to so-called fast fashion when shopping for clothes. 

Fast fashion allows consumers, even those on a budget, to stay in style as it involves producing high volumes of trendy clothing, which often resemble current runway styles. Fast fashion items resemble high-end designer pieces, but are of a lower quality.

Thrifting on the other hand, gives fashionistas a chance to find more unique pieces. It is by definition a more sustainable practice because recycled clothes require no additional manufacturing. 

“Fast fashion is widely accessible to a lot of people,” Olivia Russo, sophomore criminology major said . “It (lets people) recreate and make outfits that they see their favorite celebrities wearing,  or their favorite things on the runway. (But) you can also do those same things with thrifting. Sometimes it’s even more inexpensive.” 

Russo said her concern with fast fashion is overconsumption. Buying a new outfit each time you have an event to attend is wasteful. She prefers working on something already in her closet and thrifting because that allows people to get more than one use out of clothes. =

The 2021 report, “Putting the brakes on fast fashion,” by the United Nations Environment Programme urges people to alter their patterns of consumption to ensure the longevity of Earth. Their mission is “to inspire, inform, and enable nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.” 

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the fashion industry produces between 2% and 8% of global carbon emissions. If no changes are made by 2050, this industry will use a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.

The 2022 report “Inhuman working conditions,” by Sustain Your Style shows how the reduction of production costs have affected people’s health, the Earth and garment workers’ lives. They are an independent platform, working as a resource for people “to make informed, sustainable fashion choices.” 

According to Sustain Your Style, textile workers are working in unsafe buildings where there is no ventilation and are breathing in toxic materials. It is not uncommon for these workers to sustain injuries and diseases, or to have accidents like fires caused at the production sites. They are being exploited, as they have no other option but to work for any salary, no matter how harsh the conditions.

According to ThredUp, an online resale company’s Resale Report 2023, the global secondhand apparel market is expected to grow three-times faster on average than the global apparel market overall.

“Unraveling the impact of thrifting,” by EarthDay.Org in 2024, gives people solutions to stop the overproduction of garments ending up in landfills. According to Earth Day, the online resale market has taken the best deals in thrift stores and posted them on their websites for a higher price, taking away resources from people who need them. The benefits of thrifting may outweigh this issue in terms of sustainability. 

Donating clothes reduces waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. Thrift stores also allow a higher chance of finding longer-lasting clothes, limiting the amount of items that are being repurchased.

“I don’t like the fact that (thrifting) has gotten very popularized, where the majority of the people who used to thrift can no longer afford to thrift anymore, it has gotten cheaper to buy fast fashion,” Allyson Villa, sophomore psychology major, who prefers to shop at thrift stores said. The overconsumption that happens with fast fashion results in a lot of these items landing in thrift stores anyway, she said.   

But those ULV students who said they prefer fast fashion appreciate its convenience. 

“Fast fashion is quicker than thrifting, where you have to go through everything, and it’s … hit or miss,” Lauren Reyes, senior kinesiology major said.

Thrifting may take more time compared to visiting large fashion stores that cater to specific styles. According to Earth Day,  “Thrift stores receive such a large volume of donations that they simply cannot sell it all on the floor.” Customers may have to take a closer look at everything in the store to find a piece that they would want to wear. 

“I have to make a day out of it and go with my girlfriend or friends,” Kevin Doan, junior business administration major said, who prefers fast fashion. “At the mall I can go and buy whatever I know I need.”

Myrna Abarca, sophomore educational studies major, said that because she is a college student, thrifting is a more affordable option for her. 

“Everything is very expensive if I go to the mall,” Ariadne Gamboa, sophomore criminology major, said. “For one shirt and a pair of pants, it is already $100. If I go thrifting I can get multiple. Not everyone has the luxury of going out and buying things that are brands.” 

Anisa Salazar can be reached at

Anisa Salazar is a freshman communications major with a concentration in public relations and a staff writer for the Campus Times.


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