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Zot n clothes thrift shop held at the Cross cultural center

By: Deryn Harris

Zot n Clothes set up a thrift shop at the Cross Cultural Center on March 8, where UCI students could choose up to three clothing items for free. The project was put on through the combined efforts of the UC Global Health Institute (UCGHI), Planetary Health Center of Expertise and ASUCI’s Sustainability Project Commission (SPC).

The event encouraged discourse on the topics of sustainable consumerism in fashion as well as shined a spotlight on a resource available to students on campus.

Victoria Nguyen, a second-year social ecology major with a minor in global sustainability and the current commissioner for the SPC, stated that the event was important for providing free clothing to students and educating them at the same time.

“It increases accessibility to clothing for students. All of the clothes here are free, and at the same time students are getting educated on the impacts of fast fashion,” Nguyen said.

By recycling clothes, in this case through thrift shopping, students are not consuming or encouraging the production of new clothing but instead giving clothes another home, as opposed to allowing them end up in a landfill.

UCI student Maria Garcia, attended the event and said that in addition to sustainability, Zot n Clothes allowed for low-income students to have access to clothing.

“[Zot n Clothes] is building an inclusive program for low-income students who don’t really have the opportunity to be buying clothes so often… People are donating clothes they may not need anymore and giving it to people who may need it,” she stated.

In preparation for this event, clothing donation bins were placed throughout campus, including the ASUCI office, Gateway Study Lounge, the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC), Campus Village and the Anteatery.

“We got most of our donations from students around campus…We also received donations from the Love Boutique (UCI) which was a thrift shop before us for business clothes. These are all student-brought clothes,” Nguyen noted.

The SPC hopes the free clothing event will turn into a monthly occurrence on campus. They are hoping the next event will be held sometime during Earth Week from April 22-26.  

Stephanie Nguyen, a fourth-year health sciences major and a student ambassador for the UCGHI Planetary Health Center of Expertise spoke about both the ethical and environmental impacts of fast fashion, such as clothing stores like Forever 21, that constantly bring in cheap clothing items. Most of the clothing is produced by overseas workers who suffer under harsh working conditions. Additionally, the way certain fabrics are produced harms the environment.

“I realized that polyester is really bad for the environment, all the chemicals and carbon emissions it takes to produce a shirt. In Vietnam, although they work in the factories, they are also experiencing all the effects of climate change. There is a cycle from fast fashion to carbon emissions. This event allows students to be more aware of fast fashion,” explained Nguyen.

UC Berkeley and UC San Diego have also implemented thrift shops on their respective campuses.

“If it’s so successful there, then why shouldn’t we have one? There’s nothing holding us back from doing it. We’re going to see if we can make it more permanent and have permanent donation bins,” said Nguyen.