These students are working to promote sustainable and free alternatives to fast fashion at the Aggie Reuse Store while building an inclusive community
By DANIELA DULA MEJIA — firstname.lastname@example.org
The Aggie Reuse Store, a student-run organization, is making an impact by connecting students to an alternative to the fast fashion industry. Andrianna Pellini, a fourth-year managerial economics major and a social media and sales volunteer, and Sarah Pando, a fourth-year environmental policy analysis and planning (EPAP) major and the point director, are working hard to mitigate the effects of climate change through Aggie Reuse.
Over the years, more people have become aware of fast fashion’s negative impact. Fast fashion is the mass production of trendy clothing sold at inexpensive prices. Brands like H&M, Zara and Shein are notorious for the negative environmental impact of fast fashion practices. While it’s hard to beat the affordable prices for many people on a budget, there is a larger cost at stake.
Fast fashion has created ethical concerns starting with the production of the clothing and ending with its disposal — three-fourths of fast fashion clothing ends up in landfills or is incinerated. So what happens to the remaining fourth? It either ends up being donated to for-profit community thrift stores or, when the quality is too poor to be sold, the clothing is shipped to other countries where it ends up becoming trash.
To solve this problem, places like Aggie Reuse are working to help eliminate clothing waste in a new way. Pando and Pellini said the store is a great alternative to for-profit thrift stores like Goodwill.
“I like working here because I’m an EPAP major, so I care about the environment and not supporting fast fashion,” Pando said. “Stop buying from Shein.”
In the past year, Aggie Reuse has shifted from its former location at the Silo to the first floor of the Memorial Union and transformed into a mutual-aid model which now offers all items for free, as noted on their website.
“I think everyone should have access to clothes,” Pando said.
According to Pando, free clothing is an important part of providing for students’ basic needs.
The zero-cost model not only helps to mitigate clothing waste but also helps create safe spaces for students to pick gender-affirming clothing without worrying about the cost.
“Everyone should be allowed to experiment […], especially for people who are transitioning,” Pando said.
Pando and Pellini both said the space is welcoming for all people, even community members who are not students.
“Everybody is welcome to come in,” Pellini said. “It’s so open to the community.”
Pando and Pellini both emphasized that they love working at the store because of the inclusive community they have gotten to know this past year.
“I really get to see [other Aggie Reuse staff] as people instead of just somebody I’m volunteering with,” Pellini said. “Also, another highlight is just meeting cool people that come into the store, and they introduce themselves, and we start chatting.”
The staff at Aggie Reuse not only have environmental sustainability in mind but also want to create an inviting community space around this campus resource.
“We have so much stuff; everyone will find something they like, hopefully,” Pando said. “If you feel like you don’t have your community yet, it’s okay. We’re always open to new people and very accepting, and we love meeting people and adding to our team.”
Written by: Daniela Dula Mejia — email@example.com