Sustainable Style Spotlight: Jen Sault of Thrift for Good on Ditching Fast Fashion

6 mins

Jen Sault, Founder and Managing Director of Thrift for Good, tells The Ethicalist why and how we should make the switch from overconsumption to thrifting

People don’t talk about this enough, but the fashion industry is destroying our planet. With the increasing pressure on fast fashion brands to mass produce cheap clothing every season, between 80 to 150 billion pieces are currently estimated to be produced annually. They are not made to last and consequently it’s estimated that 60 per cent of those pieces hit landfill within the first year of their life. In the face of this environmental crisis, it’s crucial that we rethink our consumption habits and invest in the power of thrifting.

But first, let’s take a look at why when we buy fast fashion, the price may be cheap, but the cost is severe.

Fashion’s Dirty Footprint

The production processes used in the fashion industry are extremely harmful to the environment. The fashion industry is the third biggest emitter of carbon emissions –10 per cent of the total global emissions– it is responsible for over 20 per cent of the world’s water pollution in run-off dyes which often contain toxic chemicals, while the plastic blend fibers such as polyester, are responsible for 30 per cent of the oceans’ microplastic problem. We are now at the point where 70 per cent of US women have plastic in their breastmilk and microplastics have even been found in the clouds.

dirty clothes in dirty water washed up on beach

But it’s not just the environment that’s at stake. What of those who produce the clothes? Sweatshops are infamous for their unsafe working conditions, exploiting people with 15+ hour working days, seven days a week, sometimes for less than AED10 per day. The clothing industry is also the second biggest industry for child labour just behind coffee production, with an estimated 170 million children forced to make textiles and garments in order to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and worldwide.


Thankfully, there is a better option. One that is sustainable, protects the planet, has unique styles, perfect condition, quality brands, funds better lives for impoverished children, and is simply the best price on the market. Welcome to the world of thrifting, where every dirham has immense value.

I’m writing to you from Thrift for Good, Dubai’s charitable preloved clothing stores in Dubai. We exist to rehome preloved items, to reduce waste, and to raise money for children’s charity projects . We do this by donating 100 per cent of our profits to projects of local non-profit organisation, Gulf for Good. So far, we have rehomed over 250,000 pieces of clothing and have contributed more than 2,500,000AED to children’s charity projects in Uganda, Gaza, the Philippines, Malawi, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Ladakh, Peru and Lebanon.

nurse in Africa helping little girl

It doesn’t cost much to help a child in need – AED1500 is enough to sponsor a child in Tanzania for an entire year – and we are so proud to have forever changed the lives of over 1600 children.

Every day, we are lucky to witness magic in our stores. The joy of finding that perfect piece for 1/7th of the price new, knowing that you are supporting the movement for a better world.

Thrifting 101 – How do I protect my clothing from ending up in the landfill?

The first step is to take responsibility for what you already own. You decide the fate of that item. Often our clothes, like everything else, simply need a little care. This could be stain treating, repairing, tailoring to your size, or even creating something new out of those materials.

If it is something that no longer brings you joy after that care, there’s never a reason to throw clothing away. We are here for you – as are other preloved clothing stores too. At Thrift for Good, we accept anything you would read or wear (clothing, shoes, bags, accessories) for men, women or children. We will take care of that item to bring it back to perfect condition, or sell at weekend flea markets to benefit people locally. We also recycle items into carpet and furniture with our partner, Kiswa.

Inside the Thrift for Good store

In our stores, your items are on a contribution basis to support our children’s charity projects, but we do give AED10 store credit against the total contribution to say thank you.

If you want to sell your items (for cash or store credit on a commission basis) or are looking for other preloved clothing stores in Dubai, please find a list of some of our favourites below:

  • Our Thrift for Good stores are located in Times Square Center and on the Palm Jumeirah
  • Preloved markets such as the Dubai Flea Market and the Urban Market
  • Facebook communities such as Klowes DXB and Shop Well for Less UAE
  • Dubizzle has a clothing section
  • Dubai Center for Special Needs Souq is also charitable
  • Bazaara is a great app where you can upload and list your clothes for sale
  • Endless.uae is a buying and selling platform for premium clothes
  • Shop Retold buys high street and above for AED5 per item and has a beautiful selection
  • Reem’s Closet buy and sell designer items
  • @riot__here online platform for designer clothing
  • La Suite buys and sells luxury items
  • Garderobe in Jumeirah buys and sells luxury items
  • The Luxury Closet online buys and sells luxury items

There are also many preloved clothing stores which import preloved items for sale, such as Thrift+, Thrift Bazaar, Fashion Rerun in Satwa, and Sam’s Ukay Ukay (and the many other Ukay Ukay stores in Deira).

How do I make the switch to thrift?

Simple. Enjoy the treasure hunting! Our stores are a great place to find unexpected bargains. You can enjoy mixing up your style and rotating your wardrobe, completely guilt free.

Before you buy first hand, check your preloved options. With a little patience, that piece you are waiting for will come and at a great price too. When you do buy first hand (if you must), remember to think sustainably.  There are many great sustainable clothing options in the UAE. A great app for checking the rating of clothing brands is called Good On You.

After all, please remember that ‘Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want,’ (Anna Lappe). I personally don’t want to wear and therefore represent anything that supports child labour, toxic dyes on my skin and mass pollution. I’m sure you don’t either.

In addition to giving and shopping, you can help us achieve our mission by volunteering and partnering with us. More than clothing stores, we are a community driven movement and what we do is only made possible by people like you.

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