Thrift shopping and Indonesian urban youth fashion consumption



Indonesia has witnessed the proliferation of thrift culture. While it used to be for the consumption of the urban poor, thrift clothing has been gentrified into the practice of the younger generation, presumably doing such practice for the sake of environmental consciousness. The emergence of thrift fashion is also widespread by online thrift shops on Instagram, Facebook, and other social networking platforms, often selling thrift fashion as 'trendy' fashion. This paper investigates how the Indonesian youth make sense of the thrifting culture and what motivates them. We surveyed 94 participants and organised FDG interviews with 12 participants who are frequent thrift customers. Towards the quantitative and qualitative data, this research found that most participants took part in thrifting culture not solely because of environmental consciousness but predominantly out of economic reasons. However, how the younger generation interprets thrifting is much deeper than just economic considerations. This research found that thrifting practices have many layers of meaning, ranging from thrifting as a way of life and strategy in dealing with economic challenges, identity and individuality issues, community belonging, and social responsibility to the environment. This finding also suggested that the thrifting culture in Indonesia creates many additional problems because most secondhand fashion is imported goods from other Asian countries, far from its initial conception as a way to reduce over-consumption. While not much research has been done regarding thrifting practice in Indonesia, this paper is helpful as preliminary research and can inspire further research in this subject.


  • Issue: 17
  • Page/Article: 119-135
  • DOI: 10.18573/jomec.224
  • Published on 9 Dec 2022
  • Peer Reviewed