Reuse and Reduce
The words "thrifting" and "upcycling" may directly trigger images in some readers' minds. "Brockenhaus", "Freitag Bags" and "Toilet paper crafts" may be top of the mind for some. In fact, the term "thrifting" has become a buzzword for reusing second-hand clothes. This hype around old clothes has massively been supported by platforms like TikTok and Instagram. New life is being breathed into an already old practice and social media stars are making it accessible to inspired young people. Platforms like Depop in particular have become more and more part of the ordinary shopping experience in recent years. Buying second-hand clothes is becoming a real fun experience. Moreover, there seems to be no end in sight for the trend towards Instagram wadrobe shopping. Used and unworn clothes are sold to friends and family, creating a circular economy within a small community.
In addition to reusing clothes, many young and creative minds are also using the opportunity to give old clothes and other unusable items a new glow. Upcycling is one of the most widespread sustainability consumer trends. Car tyres are turned into flower pots, bicycle rims are revived into watches and old t-shirts are adapted to new trends. This year's Sustainability Week also featured an upcycling workshop where old socks were turned into a tawashi sponge for kitchen utility… Hence, adding value to an old product by transforming it.
There are many trends and hypes, to name Fidget Spinners as one of many examples, where the benefit and added value is questionable. Thrifting and upcycling, however, are not only able to decelerate the horror phenomenon we call fast fashion, but may actually lead to a change of young people’s consumption mindset.