[A&E OPINION] The problem with “hauls:” the ethics of overconsumption

By+buying+large+amounts+of+fast+fashion+in+%E2%80%9Chauls%2C%E2%80%9D+consumers+are+adding+to+the+massive+amount+of+clothes+that+are+abandoned+as+soon+as+their+short+6+month+long+trend+is+over.

Lucia Granja

By buying large amounts of fast fashion in “hauls,” consumers are adding to the massive amount of clothes that are abandoned as soon as their short 6 month long trend is over.

“Look at what I bought- let me give you a haul.”
The term “haul” refers to the ongoing trend of shopping haul videos on media platforms, especially Youtube, where creators show the items they bought on a single shopping trip, usually of one category of products, such as cosmetics, accessories, or clothes. This trend has popularized the term “haul,” as the idea of buying a lot of items at once. But this trend has its repercussions. Buying a lot of items in general supports consumerism and fast fashion, abusive industries with detrimental impacts on the environment. But don’t think you’re safe if you do your “hauls” at thrift stores: buying too many clothes in general defeats the purpose of thrifting to reuse clothes.

Many thrift stores that offer cheap prices for people who may not be able to afford other options are being emptied of their clothes by people who thrift as a trend.”

The fast fashion industry has grown in popularity in the last ten years, especially with the rise of social media spreading and ending trends faster than ever before. However, fashion fans should be cautious of contributing to this industry that is known to use unethical sweatshop labor and accounts for 10% of all carbon emissions in the world. The mass production of clothes at such a fast turn over rate produces huge amounts of clothes that end up in landfills. By buying large amounts of fast fashion in “hauls,” consumers are adding to the massive amount of clothes that are abandoned as soon as their short 6 month long trend is over.

Fast fashion has been a problem for many years, but thrifting as a sustainable alternative to fast fashion to support the reuse of clothes has been popularized among fashion fans as of late. However, thrifting does not solve the problem.
In places where thrifting is especially popular, like San Francisco, many thrift stores that offer cheap prices for people who may not be able to afford other options are being emptied of their clothes by people who thrift as a trend. This makes it hard for people for whom thrifting is necessary to find affordable clothes.
Thrifting as a concept is undoubtedly more environmentally friendly than buying trendy fast fashion products. But thrifting hauls defeat this purpose. Buying a lot of clothes outweighs the fact that you are reusing the clothes, in addition to taking affordable resources from people who need them, making thrifting hauls just as unethical as fast fashion.