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Is Thrifting Being Gentrified?

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The thrifting industry has grown over the last few years and Gen-Z gets a lot of the credit. However, critics worry that this growth has made thrifting less accessible to low-income families and those that need it.

TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices. Click to see this video and lesson plan on KQED Learn.

What is thrift gentrification?

When seemingly affluent shoppers buy secondhand clothing from thrift stores and take those same clothes and sell them online on reseller sites at a higher price than they purchased them for. This inadvertently raises the prices at thrift stores thus making it harder for low-income shoppers to have access to the clothing.

What are thrift haulers?


Gen-Z gets credited with the increased interest in thrifting and second-hand shopping. A quick search on Youtube will show countless thrift haulers (people that go to thrift stores and buy a large amount of clothing at one time) showing what they purchased and techniques to be a better thrifter. Yet, there are also folks who thrift solely to resell and turn a profit and that has critics concerned.

How is thrifting a response to “fast fashion?”

Thrifting is considered a good alternative to fast fashion which is defined as inexpensive clothing produced by cheap labor to keep costs low. Fast fashion is also bad for the environment with high levels of water consumption, pollution, carbon emissions, and on top of all that it also exploits workers. Thrifting is a viable inexpensive way to access clothing while not having to deal with the negative effects of fast fashion.

Is re-selling thrift fashion raising prices at thrift stores?

A lot of criticism around thrifting and second-hand shopping has been around the idea that if more people are buying up all the clothes and reselling them that thrift stores will raise their prices and make it difficult for low-income people to purchase clothes. Thrift stores use valuation guides to indicate to the donor what their clothes are worth not how much a store should charge.


2021 Fashion Resell Market and Trends 

Forever 21’s Bankruptcy Show How Teens Outgrew Malls 

Why Gen-Z loves thrifting and Second-Hand Shopping So Much

How Thrifting Became Problematic

Worldwide Fast Fashion Market to 2030

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