While shopping for new clothing, have you ever considered the following questions: Who actually makes this product? How does this fabric affect the environment? Do I really need this? How long will it last?
Whether these are questions that have crossed your mind or not, it is important to note that the fashion industry produces more harmful carbon emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined. In fact, the apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions total, according to The World Bank Organization.
Fast fashion has contributed to these numbers greatly. This is due to the mass production of low-cost, poor-quality, disposable clothing. Polyester, acrylic, rayon, and nylon are just a few of the least sustainable fabrics, taking anywhere from 20 to 200 years to decompose. As trends come and go, clothing is produced at high rates and disposed of even faster. When these garments arrive at the end of their life, they are not donated. Instead, they either go to a landfill or get incinerated.
To avoid adding to this ever growing pile, it is crucial to shop consciously and strive to make ethical decisions each day.
We can help our community and shop at local secondhand vendors such as Lazarus Vintage, Bulto Boys, and others to not only support our community members, but to also contribute to a much larger cause: preserving our planet.
Jose Nerio, also known as “Chema,” owns Bulto Boys. He describes himself as a “vintage collector, reseller, and T-shirt nerd.” He has been reselling for about six or seven years, and opened his business officially four years ago.
“I am extremely thankful that the RGV has supported me, my business, and my ideas,” he said. “The RGV vintage scene has been small for a really long time, but I feel like as times are changing, the RGV has become more open to secondhand and vintage clothes.”
Lazarus Vintage is another secondhand shop that the RGV has embraced since 2018. Owner William Tex Jiménez finds joy in not only helping the environment, but establishing connections along the way.
“I get to share an enjoyment for this niche passion with my community on all levels, whether it’s historic or aesthetic,” he said. “If people can walk away with more info, a good conversation, or just being happy with their purchase, then I am happy.”
While Lazarus Vintage and Bulto Boys have each established an impressive following within the last few years, sustainability remains a priority.
“I source from different thrifts, buy wholesale, go to garage sales, go to flea markets, and I buy locally, as well. I try my best to get new clothes everyday,” Nerio said.
Jiménez incorporates a twist when purchasing inventory for Lazarus Vintage.
“A sustainability-centered mindset can be applied to many areas of one’s life and we are actively pushing to showcase options for sustainable fashion that can be sourced locally,” he said. “Each garment starts off being examined for stains and blemishes to be corrected. Often, if stains can’t be removed, the garment will be set aside for dyeing — where the customization and experimentation happens. It’s really exciting stuff for me personally. Sometimes items with significant rips or tears will be sent off for repairs, but soon that will be done in-house.”
Bulto Boys can be located on the following platforms:
- Website: https://bulto-boy.myshopify.com/
- Instagram: @ghosttownvintage956
- Depop: @chemanerio
- Grailed: @ghosttownvintage
Lazarus Vintage can be found on/at the following locations:
- Instagram: @lazarus.vintage
- Brownsville Farmers Market (9 a.m. to noon every Saturday)