Doing good? Thrift stores and second-hand clothing donations in Victoria, BC




Gravestock, Kathryne E.

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Do second-hand clothing donations ‘do good?’ Thrift stores promote the message that second-hand clothing (SHC) donations ‘do good’ when they solicit donations from individuals. I argue that this narrative of ‘doing good’ overemphasizes the social and economic value of donated clothes and conceals the negative aspects of overconsumption and the problems associated with the commercial export of SHC. The aim of this thesis is to better understand the relationship between fast fashion, clothing consumption and disposal patterns, and the global trade in SHC donations by examining what motivates individuals to donate SHC to thrift stores, and how thrift stores are linked to the international trade in SHC. I began to map SHC donations from households to thrift stores. I used a global production network (GPN) framework to examine the social, political, and economic relations that contribute to how value is created, increased, and extracted in this commodity chain. Using a case study approach, I conducted 30 interviews with individuals who donated used clothing and I conducted research at four different thrift stores that sell SHC in Victoria, BC.



second-hand clothing, thrift stores, clothing disposal, fast fashion, commodity chains, social reproduction