Hip, trendy, and environmentally friendly, Isla Vista Trading Post is not your typical second-hand clothing organization. Their goal is to challenge both fast fashion, and the stigma surrounding second-hand shopping, making it cool to be sustainable—and Isla Vista residents are absolutely eating it up.
These days, you can’t even go online or on Instagram without being bombarded by advertisements for the newest style of dresses or shoes. Yet these styles go out as fast as they come in. Remember a few years back when huge, furry jackets were the fad? I bought one and now it hangs in my closet collecting dust, retired after merely one season of wear.
Fast fashion has become both a social and environmental issue. Focusing on keeping up with the changing trends as quickly as possible, the fashion industry pushes cheap prices and speedy production, leading to the exploitation of workers at incredibly low wages. Responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, the fashion industry is estimated to produce 92 million tons of textile waste annually, yet less than 1% of this clothing is recycled into new garments.
IVTP is working on reducing waste by holding events for the Isla Vista community multiple times a quarter. Once a week, the organization posts an infographic to inspire clothing donations, inviting followers to dm them their addresses for pickup. Every Thursday and Friday, members go out and pick up clothes that would’ve otherwise been thrown away. They then host events in which community members can get the first three pieces of clothing for free, inviting sustainable artists and vendors from the community as well as local bands to come play music at the event.
Over the past four years, these events have recycled over 4,000 articles of clothing that would’ve otherwise ended up in landfills. These events have become well-known throughout the community; through live music, drinks, and fun vendors, IVTP uses their events to make recycling clothes an exciting event for the community. An event held in May recycled a stunning 855 pieces of clothing in a matter of hours. One event this year even hosted a fashion show, displaying how fun and unique thrifted clothes can be.
Shirt by shirt, IVTP is changing the culture of IV, making it cool to be sustainable. Lia Mund, one of the social media coordinators, has been a part of IVTP since sophomore year. One of the main goals of IVTP, she explained to me, is to destigmatize thrifting, making people comfortable using second-hand clothes. “Clothing should be a community-wide event—something that connects everyone,” she says, “The idea of three for free allows you to try out new styles, and if you don’t like it, you can recycle it. It’s cool because it’s all IV run so you are getting everything from other people in your community.”
To make an impact on the environmental issues our world faces, it’s important to focus on all sectors of the issue. We must not only educate but also provide a means for change. Through their various events, IVTP is checking both of these boxes, changing the narrative on secondhand clothing while reducing the harmful effects of textile waste.
So, before you click on that Instagram advertisement, head on over to IVTP. You might be surprised what you find.
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