Infographic created using Canva
Infographic created using Canva
Just in case you were of the opinion that Grahamstown’s geographical positioning as a small town situated somewhere in the middle of nowhere on the southern continent of South Africa, rendered it immune from the influence of this global trend, I’m about to burst your bubble of ignorant bliss. Grahamstown is not immune to the cultural phenomenon called thrifting.
“I wear your granddad’s clothes, damn right
I look incredible, now come on, man
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road. Let’s go” – Macklemore, Thrift shop, 2013.
Macklemore sings about it, and the evolution of fashion and counterculture trends continue to keep the lyrics alive, ensuring that thrifting remains a cultural phenomenon.
The carefully-constructed materials we use to cover our bodies are not just commodities. This is evident in the fact that after months, years or decades of wears, the possibility remains to still get something out of the well-served item of clothing, and I’m not talking about more wears (or perhaps you’ll get that too if you’re lucky).
“Seems the only one who doesn’t see your beauty Is the face in the mirror looking back at you
You walk around here thinking you’re not pretty But that’s not true
… And you’re tied together with a smile
But you’re coming undone.” —Taylor Swift, ‘Tied together with a smile”
It’s that time of year again when you add an extra number to your age, but I really don’t think I have to tell you though because you remind me of that exciting little detail like three times a day.
“All that you need to love is in front of your eyes” -Josh Groban.
This is my first attempt at writing you a letter. Ever. No, wait, I wrote you a letter when I was thirteen during a school camp as part of a ‘self-growth’ activity. The task was to write a letter addressed to ourselves listing areas of our life or character that we wanted to change or work on. Then we were instructed to put it in an envelope and open it again at the end of the year, ‘marking our progress’. Novel idea.
***It’s a Saturday night. I’m at my friend’s house and we’re getting ready to go out. “Aaah I look so fat and ugly!” my friend suddenly blurts out, her arms flailing frantically in the air as she wrestles with her dress in a desperate attempt to get it off her decidedly ‘too fat’ body. “There is no way I can wear this dress out tonight, I look like a fat old frump,” she exclaims, flinging the dress onto a heaped pile of clothing that she’s already deemed unfit.
“Yes, you’re too fat,” I encouragingly egg her on. “You’re probably better off just wearing a tent or an XXXL t-shirt to cover that blob of a body. You shouldn’t have eaten that second slice of cake at lunch. Why the hell did you have a second helping? As if one piece wasn’t already pushing it. Can’t you just learn some self-control, other people can say no. Why can’t you? No wonder you look so fat and ugly,” I add, just to make her feel better about herself knowing that I share her same sentiments regarding her body image, because don’t we all want to feel understood and accepted?***
The above scenario never actually happened. Well, of course, it didn’t! Because any half decent friend with half a brain would NEVER respond like that to someone they care about.