IG screenshots

This might be the only era in which it’s more impressive to scavenge for your outfit in a thrift store than have it gift-wrapped in a luxury boutique. According to Vogue Business, this is a product of the ‘Depop generation’ – those using thrifting, ‘flipping’ and secondhand marketplaces to bring sustainable fashion to the forefront of the socially conscious conversation.

As someone who lives in Melbourne’s inner north and shamelessly feeds into everything that entails, I can attest to the fact that thrift stores are brimming with secondhand clothing converts. A good find at Savers is like winning the Y2K lottery. Now, more than ever, it’s cool to care – particularly about what goes in your wardrobe.

Despite our ethical fashion enthusiasm, the gap between what we want and what we actually buy may be wider than we think. With ultra-fast fashion only getting cheaper, quicker and more accessible, it’s hard to ignore and, more importantly, resist.

TikTok’s melting pot of the world’s cultural corners is the perfect allegory for the complexity of the new generation’s school of thought. There’s a lot to be said about the eerie accuracy of the app’s algorithm (most of which I don’t understand, unsurprisingly) and my feed has become a stunning amalgamation of all my niche interests, creative passions and morbid fascinations.

In my frequent slack-mouthed scrolling, I’ve noticed a pattern. My feed is contrasted by ethical fashion content (locally-based brands to shop, thrifting tips, conscious consumerism 101) and mass-scale bulk fast-fashion hauls. The same generation explaining a circular fashion economy is funnelling millions of dollars into companies with murky manufacturing processes. How can both of these facts be true?