Secondhand fashion has been increasingly popular among college students in recent years. Sustainable fashion has become an integral part of Cal Poly’s student culture, from students flaunting around in their vintage discoveries to holding secondhand clothes sales on Dexter Lawn.
Students at Cal Poly are embracing used clothing in large part because of the increase in fashion sustainability, particularly on social media. According to Zhu, social media sites like TikTok and Instagram have affected the fashion choices of young adults, particularly college students, because of the benefits being environmentally responsible.
Zhu explained that the rise of second-hand culture may be attributed to a mix of social media, the rise of individuality, and the desire to make a difference. In my opinion, “I may come across unique stuff, and people are taking advantage of that significantly.”
Ethical consumerism and secondhand clothing are being promoted by student-run groups. Sustainable Fashion Club’s goal is to bring together education, awareness, and creativity in students’ wardrobes. They educate students at Cal Poly how to deconstruct clothing and utilise patchwork creations in their seminars.
Cal Poly’s Fashion also organises seminars and promotes sustainable fashion. Although sustainable fashion isn’t the club’s major focus, Advaitha Bhavanasi, FAST co-president, says that their objective is to mainstream it via their overall culture and activities.
Not only do clubs hold clothing at Cal Poly, but the general public is becoming more aware of these opportunities as well. Students who like shopping at flea markets and garage sales have a positive impact on campus sustainability. A pair of second-year journalism students began selling used clothing on Dexter Lawn during the Ebola crisis. Bakhshandeh asked her pals whether they’d be interested because she wanted to bring people together and because she loves to thrift.
A simple group chat discussion gave birth to the Dexter Lawn Flea Market, which has grown into a beloved community tradition. Other student sellers, such as Bakhshandeh and Meyer, hawked handmade jewellery, old T-shirts, and other repurposed products during the market.
At Fred and Betty’s in San Luis Obispo a year ago, Gemma Palleschi encountered only the local, elderly thrifting population of San Luis Obispo. It soon became apparent to her that the younger population had fully taken over the secondhand market.