I generally don’t pay much for my clothing, opting to thrift most everything I buy, for several reasons (in no particular order):
- I like a closet full of choices
- Recycling and reusing clothing is crucial for the environment
- There’s no shortage of magnificent fashion finds when thrifting
- I can buy expensive shoes without guilt
According to Elizabeth Cline, who wrote Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, “most of our donated clothing doesn’t end up in vintage shops, as car-seat stuffing, or as an industrial wiping rag. It is sold overseas….And by one estimate, used clothing is now the United States’ number one export by volume, with the overwhelming majority sent to ports in sub-Saharan Africa.”
While that seems like a charitable deed, turns out the world has changed, and many people in developing countries are able to now afford fast fashion and super-cheap clothing from China. We can (and should) no longer use Africa as our dumping ground for unwanted textiles. In fact, there is at least talk in Eastern Africa to ban all imported used clothing by 2019.