An Ethical Guide to 90’s Fashion


The rise in popularity of 90s fashion is grabbing the attention of all generations with its popular comeback. With the influence of micro trends in society, it is important to know where and how to shop sustainably for up-and-coming trends.

A micro trend, by definition, is a trend that rises in popularity quickly and falls even faster. These trends usually last for 3-5 years, which is quick considering broader trends last around 5-10 years.

An important term to correlate with short trend cycles is single-use clothing. Single-use clothing is a one and done piece that consumers buy because of its influence in social media and never wear again.

With the cycle of micro trends progressively getting shorter, it is good to be aware of how the production of single-use clothing hurts our environment. The textile industry is the second largest contributor to pollution in the world. In 2019, 208 million pounds of waste from single-use clothing was accumulated. As the trend cycles get shorter, production from one of the most harmful industries for our environment will increase.

Social media is also a large contributor to overconsumption. The idea that consumers must keep up with trends or they will have an outdated style is a big part of why trends are expiring so quickly. The amount of clothing that Americans throw away and produced has doubled within the last 20 years.

Shopping fast fashion for trends is very tempting, but that is when thrifting comes into play. Since clothing waste has doubled in recent years, it is so much more sustainable to donate clothing that has run its course in your wardrobe rather than throw it away. By donating it, you are giving something a second life rather than contributing to waste production.

Consumers can find many authentic pieces that are related to current trends rather than buying into fast fashion. Using the comeback of 90s fashion as an example, shoppers can easily find authentic 90s fit pieces at a thrift store that will live so much longer in their closets than a single-use piece would.

Being a conscious consumer is also very important when shopping to increase the longevity of clothing. Shoppers should think of the existing pieces in their closets that could easily be paired with it to fit their personal styles.

Calvert County has a few great thrifting options that not only have secondhand clothing, support the people of Calvert County who are in need. Two such locations are Project Echo and The Spot.

Project Echo, located here in Prince Frederick, is a great thrift store option to find unique pieces while also helping the homeless of Calvert County. This organization donates all profits made when shopping to benefit the homeless, as well as accepting donations of gently used clothing.

The Spot is also a popular thrift store location, located in St Leonard, MD. Like Project Echo, The Spot in a nonprofit that donates proceeds from shopping to fund low cost spay and neuter procedures for cats and dogs.

As new micro-trends develop, consumers should take into consideration supporting a local thrift store and nonprofit to update their wardrobes, rather than shopping fast fashion.