College students can meet the demand between frugality, fashion and recycling

Lincoln University in Missouri (Photo by Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Lincoln University in Missouri (Photo by Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Pajama pants, yoga shorts, T-shirts and sandals have been getting ditched for more fashionable apparel on college campuses. It’s no longer a rarity to see students headed to class in the latest fashionable clothes and shoes in the new “hot” color.

So how can college students who are struggling to pay for textbooks, food and living expenses be able to keep up with the Joneses? Fast fashion is the culprit.

Fast fashion relies on making clothes affordable and trendy. The unemployment rate for college students and the rising cost of college tuition are also cause for frugality.

Even with the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, college students still continue to be a popular target for quick spending. The only difference is now they can actually afford their spending habits while swiping plastic cards.

In Elizabeth L. Cline’s book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” the author confirmed that “apparel manufacturing was named one of the fastest-dying industries in America of the past decade, topped only by newspapers, wired telecommunications, and textile mills.”

But clothes haven’t stopped being made. They’re just rarely American made and are instead primarily sewn in low-labor locations, such as China and Bangladesh. However, these textiles may not have the same durability as clothing in previous decades. And while low labor doesn’t necessarily mean less talented, the price manufacturers’ penny pinching is a direct reflection of lower quality clothing in both department stores and discount retail shops.

In the Student Watch 2011 study from the National Association of College Stores, students spent $179 per month on discretionary purchases. For women, their top five stores were Walmart, Target, Dollar stores, Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret. For men, their top five stores were Walmart, Target, Dollar stores, Kohl’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

More expensive department stores like Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters made it to the top 10 of college spending locations, along with more economical clothing stores, such as Kohl’s, Old Navy and JC Penney.

But what happens to those clothes when they’re out of fashion? This is when textile recycling programs, such as USAgain, come in. What may be out of fashion to one person is brand new to another.

This spring, four universities helped prevent 94,626 pounds of CO2 emissions and saved 18.78 million gallons of water simply from donating their unwanted clothing and shoes to USAgain.

So while college students have a right to be trendy and enjoy their favorite outfits, it’s just as important that more college-aged students get involved in the textile recycling process, too.

 

If you liked this post, check out the related USAgain blog: “Green Your Move Out helps college students clean up, recycle

To check out more eco-friendly blogs from USAgain, visit here. Follow us on Twitter @USAgainTweets and Pinterest, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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