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A Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Students show off their thrifted clothes in downtown Knoxville.

Have you ever thought about how the clothes you wear impact the environment? The fashion industry has a major negative environmental impact. For example, just one cotton T-Shirt takes on average 2,700 liters of water to produce! Not only is fashion straining to produce, the amount of clothes people throw away is astounding. The EPA estimates that each person throws away up to 70 pounds of clothing a year, resulting in lots of clothes going to the landfill.

So how do we combat this? There are many amazing brands creating clothing from recycled plastics or textiles. These brands keep in mind sustainable development and rarely use harsh chemicals or production methods. However, buying sustainably produced clothing can be pricey. An alternative solution is to buy second-hand clothing! Thrifting can be a lot of fun! Not only can you find unique pieces for your wardrobe, you help the planet by keeping discarded clothing out of landfills!

Rrita, a journalism major here, says the she enjoy’s thrifting because “You can find unique pieces. I found vintage hiking boots and they are my favorite thing I own now.” Not only is shopping second-hand fun, it is easy on your wallet. Most thrift stores only charge $2-$10 for clothing!

Are you hesitant about wearing “pre-loved” clothes? Just remember to give them a wash before you wear them, and you’ll never remember a time when they weren’t yours. “Just try it out if you are hesitant. I’ve found so many great pieces, and most thrift stores are linked to local charities which makes me feel like I am doing some good!” That was Hannah, a psychology major’s, advice for a first-time thrifter.

Happy shopping!

Thrift Stores in Knoxville: 

KARM Thrift 


Amvets Thrift Stores

Thrifting is such a fun activity and can help you create a unique wardrobe. To keep even more textiles out of landfills, donate your gently used clothing back to thrift stores! Together we can change the way we look at fashion!