Thrift Shopping: An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Buy Clothes

Have you ever heard of the term ‘thrift shopping’ before? Thrift shopping is taken from the word ‘thrift shop’, which is a store that sells pre-loved or second-hand stuffs that are still decent and wearable.

Contoh thrift store. Sumber:
An example of a thrift store. Source:

What is Thrift Shopping and Why?

For some people, the image of “buying second-hand” can be dreadful and unimaginable. Even so, thrift store itself has recently gained popularity and is considered as an alternative way to shop with its own benefits, especially in terms of the environment.

To illustrate, the textile and garment industry, specifically fast fashion, resulted in negative impacts towards the environment. Such impacts are namely water pollution, the use of dangerous chemicals, as well as the increasing amount of textile waste. In addition, garment and textile are mostly difficult to be recycled.

Sampah tekstil. Sumber:
Textile waste. Source:

Clothes are indeed one of humanity’s basic needs. Even so, the fulfillment of such need does not have to cost our one and only earth. This is where thrift shop comes in and becomes one of the solutions in shopping for clothes while minimizing the negative environmental impacts.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, thrift shopping also has several other benefits as follow:

#1 Cheap Price with Relatively Good Quality 

Thrift shop di Pasar Baru. Sumber:
One example of thrift shop in Pasar Baru

One of the main reasons why people choose to shop in thrift stores is due to its super low price. In Indonesia for example, the goods and clothes that are sold usually range from as low as Rp 10.000, and it usually does not cost more than Rp 200.000 depending on the type of clothes.

Moreover, it can be implied that the clothes sold in thrift stores tend to be more durable based on the fact that it has survived one “life cycle” from the previous owner. Especially compared to fast fashion which tends to be easily worn out or stretchy after being used and washed for only several times.

#2 A Chance to Experiment with Style and Colors 

Clothes that are sold in thrift stores may not be that trendy or in-style, but it becomes all the more reason for you to be creative in mix-and-matching the clothes that you stumbled upon. You can even try a new style that you might not think of before.

Kredit foto: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

#3  The Opportunity to find Unique or Rare Clothes 

If you buy your clothes in conventional stores or shopping malls, chances are you might meet another person who wears the exact same clothes. In another words, the clothes that are sold in department stores and clothing stores are so mainstream.

That is likely not the case if you shop at thrift stores. Let’s say that you happen to find this cute floral skirt in your nearest thrift shops. Heck, you might even become the only person in town who owns that skirt.

Furthermore, thrift shopping opens up the possibility for you to find a hidden gem or limited-edition clothes that are no longer sold in the market.

What You Should Pay Attention when Thrift Shopping 

If you haven’t visit any thrift shops before, there are several things you need to bear in mind to before sliding into the nearest thrift shops, which are:

#1 Patience and Thoroughness are Keys! 

The crucial aspect of thrift shopping is patience, because there is no guarantee that we will immediately find the clothes that fit our taste.

Furthermore, since the clothes are second-hand, then you need to be extra thorough in choosing the things that you want to buy. This is important to make sure that there is no excessive damaged on the clothes that you buy.

#2 Decide on the Type of Clothes that You Want to Buy in Thrift Shop

Outer wear such as jackets or blazer are a good choice to be bought at thrift shops, since the price tend to be very pricey if we purchase it in malls or branded store.

Kredit foto: Amanda Vick on Unsplash
Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash

In contrast, clothes of intimate wear such as swimsuit or  underwear should not be bought at thrift shops due to personal hygiene. In addition, second-hand shoes are also not recommended because it’s susceptible to bacteria.

#3 Wash and Clean   

Again, because the clothes are second-hand, make sure that you wash it thoroughly before use. You can wash the clothes using hot water and soak it in detergent for several times to make sure that it is both clean and safe to be worn

#4 Modify Your Clothes if Necessary

If you find a piece of clothing with good motive but a bit “meh” on the style, bringing it to a tailor could be the perfect solution.

Ilustrasi menjahit. Kredit foto: Kris Atomic di Unsplash
Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

Tailors can help you modify the clothes that you found in thrift shops to suit your style. For example, you decided to remove the enormous bow on that beautiful blouse because it is simply too tacky. Moreover, minor defect such as missing button or broken zipper can also be easily fixed.

Examples of Thrift Shop in Jakarta and Its Surroundings

After knowing the multiple benefits that thrift store can offer, and also about the helpful tips for thrift shopping, you are now ready to visit the thrift shops in town and adds some new clothes to your wardrobe without leaving a negative impact to the environment.

In Jakarta, there are several existing places that are known as the heaven for thrift shopping, some of those places are:

  • Pasar Senen, Central Jakarta: The thrift shops are inside the Pasar Jaya building, on the second floor.
  • Jatayu in Gandaria, South Jakarta: You can find various clothes with price from as low as Rp 20.000
  • Pasar Baru: Walk to the direction of Gedung Kesenian Jakarta until you find a brown-colored builduing. The thrift shops are on the third and fourth floors.
  • Vintage Vibes: Located in Flavor Bliss, Alam Sutera, BSD. This store does not only sell clothes, but also books, cameras, as well as electronic appliances. The price are a bit more expensive compared to Pasar Senen because it sells branded items.
Vintage Vibes, thrift shop yang terletak di The Flavor Bliss, BSD. Sumber foto:
Vintage Vibes, a thrift shop located in Flavor Bliss, BSD. Source:

Responsible Consumption

The act of shopping and consuming responsibly is becoming more important than ever because the impacts that those have brought to our environment are not trivial.

There are many things that we fought for behind the act of thrift shopping. To start with, purchasing second-hand items means that we are implementing the 3R Principles (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) by giving a “second life” to the clothes and items that are still in good condition.

By not buying new items, we indirectly eliminate the possibility of textile waste, or any waste at all, that might end up in landfills.

In addition, thrift shopping also becomes one of the things that we can do in supporting the Circular Economy. Circular Economy itself is a system in which goods are produced, distributed, and consumed in a closed cycle. That way, there are no materials that become waste.

As a social entrepreneur in responsible waste management, Waste4Change supports both the 3R Principles as well as Circular Economy. Because at the core of sustainable consumption and production, the first and foremost thing to do is to reduce our waste, which is then followed by recycling.

Read the article in the Indonesian version here.

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