There’s a new fast-fashion culprit, and it’s likely not a brand you’d expect. No, not online giant Shein or even mall staple Forever 21. It’s the public’s favorite faux boutique—Target.
In a trending video, thrift TikToker Caroline (@carolinetlord) shares a recent brand phenomenon she’s noticed while out thrifting.
“You know how it was like Forever 21 taking over thrift stores and then Shein? We have a new suspect,” Caroline says in the clip.
“Target has completely changed their clothing over the past few years, and they’re churning trends, and people are buying them as fast as they’re dumping them,” Caroline says.
She adds that while people seem to be getting more conscious about impulse buying, they shouldn’t be donating an item they bought new barely six months ago.
“That’s insanity,” Caroline says.
The New York Times confirmed what many thrifters around the country have found to be true. The age of being able to find high-quality items at a reasonable price at the thrift store is over. Instead, it’s been replaced by racks upon racks of polyester fast-fashion with prices that sometimes don’t beat the original price or how much you’d pay for it on sale online.
These fast-fashion donations make it so people in need of affordable clothing end up with lower quality items, and the surge of donations has driven up thrift store operating costs since they need to hire more people to sort through the mounting donations that have resulted from a quick trend cycle.
People no longer buy items seasonally, or about four times a year. Instead, new trends come out constantly, and people are getting rid of their clothes as quickly as they’re buying them.
ThredUp, an online consignment shop, found that in 2022, compared to 2020, there was a 186% increase in the number of listed Shein items and a 75% increase in clothes from PrettyLittleThing.
@carolinetlord #thrifttok #thriftqueen #thrifting #thrifthaul #stylingthrift #howtothrift101 #howtothrift #thrifted #thriftingfinds #thriftedoutfits #thriftstorefinds #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Caroline Lord
Caroline’s video has over 26,000 views and more than 100 comments as of Monday morning.
“But Goodwill has the nerve to charge over 10 dollars for those items,” a top comment read.
“I think that Target donates directly to some thrift stores. One of my locals had a bunch of identical new items from them,” a person shared.
“Especially for the price too. some Target clothing is not even cheap anymore,” another wrote.
Update 4:30pm CT, Nov. 8: Caroline made a follow-up video in response to commenters who said Target donates clothing itself, which is why she could be seeing lots of Target-branded clothing at the Goodwill. In the follow-up, she says that “probably sounds like a good thing” Target is doing.
“The problem is this is a never-ending cycle of overproduction, and most of those clothes are just going to end up in the landfill,” she says.
“I think the traditional thought of thrift stores is that it’s full of your grandma’s clothes, and that’s just genuinely not the case anymore. A lot of times it’s full of clothes that were on a rack in the store six months ago.”
She then clears up the purpose of her original video. “My video was just to visually show what’s happening and that there’s overproduction, and that’s a major problem,” she says.
The Daily Dot reached out to Caroline for comment via email.