Campus org UThrift takes strides against fast fashion

Former UThrift president Anna Coon explains how UThrift works to a student on Sept. 8, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon
UThrift President Anna Coon, a junior, explains how UThrift works to a student on Sept. 8, 2021.
Former UThrift president Anna Coon explains how UThrift works to a student on Sept. 8, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

In the fight against fast fashion, campus organization UThrift offers UM students much-needed financial relief to stay trendy on a budget. Students can trade lightly used items like clothing, accessories, shoes and even books in exchange for second-hand items.

The club’s pop-up outside the Shalala Student Center has become a permanent fixture every Wednesday. With 70 members and more than 1,400 donations in the first semester of 2022, UThrift demonstrates the power of hard work alongside dedication.

UThrift aims to provide students with an affordable way to keep up with the latest fads without purchasing clothing from unsustainable websites.

“Most of our focus is on sustainability and trying to encourage people here to just think about what they’re wearing,” said Skye Eppel, president of UThrift and a senior economics and global health major.

As a thrift store enthusiast herself, her days are full of collaborations with the young club’s three teams: creative, outreach and sustainability. Learning to balance the Wednesday stand with constant collaborations and workshops is where Eppel thrives as a leader.

“I took this position just recently,” Eppel said. “I have spent the last two or three years as social media director on board and one year as the club’s creative director.”

UThrift began as a branch of Student Government’s ECO Agency with the simple hope of promoting slow fashion, but became an official club in the spring of 2020.

To combat throwaway culture — where people only wear an outfit once — UThrift hosts workshops and events that emphasize the significance of wearing pre-loved clothing. The club’s curated Instagram posts showcase the charm and chic appeal of second-hand fashion and encourage students to minimize water waste and reduce their carbon footprint.

“By choosing second-hand clothes, we not only make a fashionable statement but also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-conscious future,” Eppel said.

Senior ecosystem science major Gwendolyn Pohlmann has spent the last two years as an avid UThrift volunteer. The Wednesday stand has become a staple in her weekly routine.

“I respect UThrift’s mission, sustainability, and combating fast fashion,” Pohlmann said. “It’s important to show you can get adorable clothes without having to shop online.”

Hearing how the club positively impacts students inspires its leaders to continue working diligently to bring thrifting to the University of Miami campus.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, UThrift will host its annual fashion show at the UC stage from 4-8 p.m.. Their regular setup will be accompanied by a live Frost band, a fashion show of all thrifted clothes and other workshops such as pumpkin painting.

To stay updated on all things UThrift, follow their Instagram page @um_uthrift and add them on Engage.