Instagram Thrifting Is My Newest Obsession

Instagram Thrifting Is My Newest Obsession

Because it doesn't get much better than scoring cute vintage ideas without having to leave your bed.

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I've recently discovered the world of Instagram thrift shops, and I'm so happy I did! I've always had a unique style, and I'm not the type of person to go to a mainstream store and just buy some clothes. I like unique things, and I also don't like to pay a lot. (Who does?) With school, however,I'm so busy to go on the hunt for some fresh "new" apparel, and I'm not into online shopping from major companies, so basically Instagram thrifting is my new saving grace.

While checking out some of the thrifting pages, I saw a lot of hashtags saying #saynotofastfashion, so I looked into it, and that is how I learned how great thrifting Is for the environment. Recycling clothes doesn't only give them a new life, but it prevents textiles from ending up in our landfills. Did you know, according to the balance small business, that more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States, and the amount has doubled over the last 20 years? What?! That is madness!!! There are other stocking statistics, but for now, I'll leave you with that shocking fact. (See the link for more!) So, after learning all of this, I was like hmm... I'm saving the environment, I'm laying in my bed, I get cute vintage clothes, and I get super good prices??? I'm so in.

Another benefit of instagram thrifting is I have met so many great people who run pages who truly have a passion for thrifting. Everyone I've encountered is so sweet, and they truly love what they do. I decided to talk to some of my favorite thrift pages about how they feel about thrifting and why they do it, so I could provide all of you with some insider scoop, and I got some really great responses.

One of my favorite pages, Cut & Cropped, who sells really cool acid-washed thrifted tees on her Instagram page, (yes... I may have bought a Syracuse one...) has an amazing perspective on thrifting:

"Thrifting is beneficial because it gives clothes a second chance at life. You can turn something that was going to be thrown out into a fun affordable statement piece. That's why I always loved Acid washing my T-shirt's... They really give them new life."
- @cutandcropped

Another great page, Saving Savvy Styles, run by the savvy Sophie Primiano, really focuses on the environmental benefits of thrifting.

"Thrifting is a thrill, it's like finding treasure! Too much of our world is focused on buying the newest trends and spending their money at large retailers. Buying thrifted items means there's one less item being manufactured, shipped, and distributed! Thrifting is not only fashionable and different, it helps our world become more sustainable."
- @savingsavvystyles (Sophie Primiano)

Welcome to the Thrift Shop, another one of my favorites, also really likes the environmental aspect of thrifting.

"I love that it's not fast fashion; I think that's so wasteful, not only for your back account, but also for the environment!

One page that I recently purchased from and like a lot, Hart For Style, run by Hartley Waldrop, focuses on the ~funkiness~ of thrifting and the vibes it brings!

"I've always loved giving old clothes new life. Thrifting is a way to express my style, be funky, and help the environment out!"
- @hartforstyle (Hartley Waldrop)

KB Thrifts loves thrifting because of the uniqueness.

"It provides people with unique and vintage clothing that isn't basic or something everyone else has. Plus its cheap!"
- @kbthrifts

Basically, how "instathrifting" works is the person who runs the page scores some finds at a local thrift store, and they'll post hem on instagram. There will usually be two prices, which I think is really cool. The first price is a bid price, so people can comment their bid on the item for a set period of time, and the item will go to the highest bidder. I really like this because sometimes, not many people bid, and you score a deal super cheap! The second price will be a "BIN" price, which stands for Buy it Now. This price is higher than the starting bid, but I like this option because it gives people an opportunity to buy something they really want instead of just hoping to win the bid. Shipping varies from page to page, and you usually pay through Venmo. Honestly, it is all way easier than it seems! It is so fun too. I love seeing people's finds!

If you're interested, check out the pages above. If you follow some pages, more will find you! Some other great ones are Korman Koture, Joyful Threadz, Shop 2 She Drops, Kind Planet Finds, Second Chance Thrifting, The Summer Closet, Lucky Duck Thrift Shop, to name a few! But there are literally hundreds of great ones.

And that is why instathrifting is my newest obsession!

Happy thrifting :)

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5 Companies That Still Use Slave Labor

Let's talk about the modern slave trade.
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Growing up in a country where freedom is always a right and expectation — whether you live in the United States or one of the other 86 "free" countries — it is easy to believe that, compared to the well-known 1800s slave trade, we are doing pretty well when it comes to civil liberties, freedom, and overall social welfare. Documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) have been approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, meaning that the vast majority of nations have agreed that every individual has the right to basic human dignity.

Despite this significant progress, however, there are 45.8 million people enslaved today, more than any other time in world history. The United States Department of Homeland Security has launched the Blue Campaign in light of this growing industry, hoping to raise awareness of the human trafficking that persists in local communities. Additionally, you can watch this video for a summary on the Global Slavery pandemic. I will write about the problem of human trafficking in the United States on another day; however, global slavery affects us whether it is in our city or halfway around the world. In fact, companies that you purchase from every single day use slave labor for their work instead of paying employees a fair wage.* Don't believe me?

Here are five companies that are using slave labor to make their products TODAY, and where you should shop instead.

Nestle

Nestle is one of the largest companies that has consistently carried out human rights violations all over the world. Not only did they illegally take water from California during the drought in 2015, but in the 1970s they got third-world mothers to use infant formula by selling it at reduced prices, and then when the mothers could no longer breastfeed, they raised the price of formula so much that many children were malnourished and starving.

Their most recent problems revolve around slavery in the cocoa industry. In 2009 several former child slaves sued Nestle because they were trafficked and forced to work on Nestle farms in Cote d'Ivoire. Another suit was filed by former child slaves in 2014, stating that "Studies by International Labour Organization, UNICEF, the Department of State, and numerous other organizations have confirmed that thousands of children are forced to work without pay in the Ivorian economy." In 2016, the Fair Labor Association executed an assessment of Nestle in Cote d'Ivoire. They claimed that 70% of Nestle farms were not trained on the prohibition of forced labor. Further, they stated that "there is no process in place to monitor, report, and remediate cases of forced labor at the farms." With this in mind, they did find evidence of potential forced and uncompensated labor. Additionally, they found evidence of child labor—many of these children never enrolling in school — in which children were getting paid little to nothing, and often working in dangerous conditions.

INSTEAD: buy from Ben & Jerry's or Theo. They will satisfy your sweet tooth and are Fair-Trade guaranteed.

Nike

Nike has REALLY cleaned up their act in the last several years, but with a standard of no slave labor, they still have quite a way to go. In 1992, activist Jeff Ballinger published an exposé in "Harpers" that revealed the story of a child in Indonesia working in disgusting conditions, and for a mere 14 cents per hour (far below the minimum wage in Indonesia at the time).

Since then, Nike has begun to report supply chain information. The most recent report claims that, in 2016, only 86% of their factories were up to the minimum standards they set. Though they give a good indication of how far the company has come, these standards are set by Nike and assessed internally, making it difficult to compare standards to a universal one.

INSTEAD: shop at Patagonia! All products here are Fair Trade Certified!

Starbucks

Starbucks claims a mission for ethical sourcing, meaning their company policy requires them to abide by a standard of "ethical sourcing" that they have created. They only have two Fair-Trade coffees available for purchase. After the development charity Oxfam reported that Starbucks was depriving Ethiopian coffee growers of $90 million every year, Starbucks was challenged by the public eye to “clean up their act,” and did so by creating their own “ethical sourcing” standards, that they implement themselves, and certify 99% of their coffee with. Whether or not these standards are viable, they are not Fair Trade Certified at this time.

The U.S. Department of Labor has a list of locations and goods that use forced and child labor. Starbucks lists coffees from countries such as Guatamala, Kenya, Costa Rica and Panama; however, none of these single-sourced coffees are certified by them as “Fair Trade.” Rather, they are all regions that are known to use child labor.

INSTEAD: buy the Starbucks Italian Roast and Café Estima; they are certified by Fair Trade! You can also order online from Café Justo, Jurang and Equal Exchange —entire companies dedicated to producing Fair Trade coffee.

H&M

A 2016 report stated that as of December 31, 2015, 31 out of 72 H&M suppliers were using illegal contracts. In other words, these contracts allowed for wrongful termination. Now I know what you are thinking: the current system of hiring/firing in the U.S. is full of problems, and it takes way too much work to fire a bad employee in most cases. Well, the situation in countries like Cambodia and India are a little different. Often times, employees of H&M will be forced to work for excessive overtime hours—far beyond the legal limit—with no increase in their weekly take home pay. They are also often working in sweatshop conditions, with no breaks and unsanitary environments. Moreover, the contracts allow the factory to fire a worker for refusing to work these long hours. In fact, a garment worker in Cambodia stated: "We often get sick around once a month. We don’t eat enough and work too much trying to maximize the piece rate. Also, we don’t stop to go to the bathroom. We often work through lunch breaks or go back into work early, so there is hardly any time to rest."

INSTEAD: shop at one of these other retailers that are guaranteed to have fair-trade labor!

Walmart

Well, this one is probably the least suprising yet. According to a 2016 report by the Wage Alliance on Walmart's value chain, Walmart refused to sign the 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh that 200 companies signed following the collapse of Rana Plaza. It also stated that all 14 factories in Cambodia were studied, and they all violated local overtime laws consistently, with some forcing 14 hour work days without overtime pay "in sweltering heat, without adequate supply of clean drinking water or any breaks." These same conditions were expressed by workers in factories in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The report continued to list countless instances of workers given severely less than they were promised, or even cases where owners of factories fled without paying workers at all.

INSTEAD: OK, I know it's hard to pass up Walmart prices. However, here is a full list of companies that are fair trade. Even if you start small, I know you can find a way to cut back on your slavery footprint! Want to know how many slaves work for you now? Visit the Slavery Footprint mission to find out.

*I use the term “fair wage” because many people who are enslaved are trapped in a cycle of debt bondage. This means that an individual or family works for pennies per hour to pay off an ever-increasing debt. Oftentimes this debt is passed down for generations. To learn more about debt bondage and other forms of slavery, visit the non-profit End Slavery Now, here.

Cover Image Credit: iragelb / Flickr

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Tips And Tricks For Thrifting For Clothes

Thrifting: cheap and cool

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Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army; thrifting for clothes is a great way to find cute looks on a college budget. Not only are things cheap, but you can also find things that are unique and one of a kind.

1. Hand sanitizer or gloves

Before you leave for your thrifting adventure, make sure you bring hand sanitizer or gloves! Clothes are usually not washed or not washed thoroughly before being put out on the rack, so it's a good idea to ensure your hands are clean after you dig through the piles of clothes.

2. Dress to try things on over it

If you're planning on trying on clothes before you buy, consider wearing leggings, a tank top, or a zip-up hoodie. When you find something you like, it's easy to slip a pair of pants on over your leggings or throw a jacket on over your tank top. This way, you won't get dirty from the clothes, as well.

3. Check clothes thoroughly for rips, tears, or stains

When you find an article of clothes, keep in mind it likely has a few blemishes. Check everywhere for torn seams, rips or holes, or stains. If there are, be sure you're ok with it the imperfections before you commit to buying it.

4. Considering altering clothes to look better

If you find something that has imperfections or just isn't quite your style, consider channeling your creativity and altering it! You can try to cut, sew, or paint to individualize your clothes and improving it. My personal favorite is cropping baggy, size XL shirts.

5. Visit often

Thrift shops will restock often with new things that people will snatch up, so be sure you frequently check. Find out when your favorite thrift store restocks so you'll be there when they cycle new items onto the shelves.

6. Reselling Apps

Consider buying from reselling apps such as Depop or Poshmark. Even though they are marked up higher, sellers on these apps have already done the searching in thrift stores for you. Even though you don't get the hunt, it's quick and easy to search for exactly what you want.

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