Why Thrift?

In addition to a quick way to cut through the middle of campus in between classes, for many students Caf Lane serves as a runway to show off their unique, never-seen-before outfits. Instead of putting on the typical college uniform of sweatpants and a hoodie, some Point Loma Nazarene University students prefer to showcase their unique clothes on the Caf Lane runway. Funky vests, vintage Doc Martens and quirky graphic tees seem to be staple pieces in these students’ wardrobes. The likely answer to “Where did you get that shirt?” is “The thrift store!” for these students. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 14.7 percent of textiles produced in 2018 were recycled with 11.3 million tons of textiles going to landfills. Fast fashion is produced quickly in conjunction with current trends and available at a low price for optimum sales, making it an easy option for college students.

 Some PLNU students are putting their money toward used clothing rather than supporting fast fashion industry clothes. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the clothing resale industry has a revenue of $17.5 billion annually. The reasons to thrift include lower prices, access to unique clothing not sold at major retailers and a desire to reduce textile waste and overconsumption.

Sara Henley, a fourth-year education student, has been an avid thrifter for six years. She thrifts because it is cheaper than retail stores and she is able to find clothes that no one else has. 

Henley said that when she goes to the Goodwill bins, she can sometimes get 20 items of clothing for around $10. 

 Her favorite thrift find was a YSL button-up that she found at the Goodwill outlet in San Marcos. Lately, she has been finding more clothes from fast fashion companies in the thrift stores where she shops. 

According to a New York Times article by Isabella Grullón Paz, prices at thrift stores are increasing because of the rising amount of clothes being donated. She said that this is because large quantities of fast fashion items bought by individuals are eventually donated to thrift stores, which is a better alternative than throwing them away. Paz said that the high number of donations requires more workers to sort through the piles of clothes, and because establishments have to pay these extra workers, the price of the clothes must increase to generate revenue for the businesses.

“Although it’s a better option than sending clothes straight to a landfill, thoughtless donating can direct lower-quality items to people who really need them, while also driving up thrift stores’ operating costs,” Paz said in the article.

Henley said that it sometimes frustrates her that the prices are increasing in thrift stores. 

“It hurts people that may not be able to afford clothes from regular retailers and it gives them fewer options,” said Henley.

Isa Darisay, a third-year journalism student, said the price increase at thrift stores has caused her to be pickier with her selections.

“Last year I would find a shirt for $3 and now it can be up to $7. I think the thrift stores are starting to realize that thrifting is becoming a trend and that people will pay more for the clothes,”  Darisay said. 

“I thrift because it’s a fun hobby to find potential in clothes that other people would normally overlook,” Darisay said. “I like creating unique outfits.” 

Her best thrift find was a red vintage puffer vest that she bought at Brother Benno’s in Oceanside.

Darisay encourages others to try thrifting. 

“It gives people a new hobby and encourages them to be more creative with what they wear and how they express themselves,” said Darisay.

Amvets, a local thrift store, offers donation pickups. This can be scheduled through email at or by phone call to 1-877-990-8387.

Written By: Avery Bosco