For many of us, this Carnival Season is our first. Constricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulane University students are more than ready to celebrate Fat Tuesday in all its glory.
In these preceding days, many of us have found ourselves lost in the depths of some senior’s Instagram page, both admiring and hoping to emulate their extravagant Mardi Gras outfits. Thus, fast fashion brands such as Dolls Kill, iHeartRaves, Amazon, and Shein carts fill our Safari tabs. Why? Because the ease, affordability, and reliability of these sites gives us a sense of security—that is, that we will get that Instagrammable photo.
But, what if I told you that you can still rock that outfit at an affordable price while being sustainable? The Mardi Gras festivities themselves are responsible for thousands of tons of garbage, and we have the ability to not exacerbate the environmental crisis that lies before us.
Okay, so how can we do this?
1. THRIFT, THRIFT, THRIFT
If you have not yet been thrifting in New Orleans, well, you’re missing out. Set aside a Saturday afternoon, grab a few friends (or not), hop on the streetcar, and walk Magazine Street. There, you can go “thrift hopping” and visit Buffalo Exchange, 90s Kids Closet, and Funky Monkey (my personal favorite).
If you don’t mind making the trek to Metairie, you can pay a visit to Red White & Blue. I have never spent more than $12.99 on a single item in this store; however, if you do go, be sure to set aside a large chunk of time as there is A LOT to look through.
If you prefer to stay closer to campus, I recommend checking out Glue (pictured above) on Oak Street—my go-to thrift store. Plus, if you spend more than $50, you get a cute tote bag!
Lastly, a hidden gem is Ma Petite Boutique on Oak Street. If Corinne happens to be working, tell her that Sharan sent you to see Mardi Gras outfits. Corinne has even assembled Mardi Gras outfits for groups of friends—that is, the same outfit in various colors!
Photo by Sharan Uppal
2. SOCIAL MEDIA
For the past few weeks, I have seen Facebook groups, GroupMe chats, and Instagram pages become flooded with people selling their previous Mardi Gras outfits—and trust me, this is the best way to figure out your ‘fits.
First, if you’re a part of a sorority or fraternity, you most likely have either a regular Facebook group or a “Classified” Facebook group, which is solely to sell and buy clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. Here, you can find some of the coolest outfits, for a far cheaper price. Also, most of the time, you should be able to try the outfit on before deciding to purchase it. However, if you are not quick enough to see the sale post and comment on it, (many) other people will be. So, with that being said, TURN FACEBOOK NOTIFICATIONS ON!
Along with that idea, GroupMe chats have been life-saving for me. To join the general clothing chat (which consists of almost 1,000 students), simply click on this link: https://web.groupme.com/join_group/62059386/VjxcXJeq.
An even greater option is the $5-$10 thrift group (which consists of almost 700 students), which you can join here: https://web.groupme.com/join_group/65942169/npxmwXmH.
Quite frankly, these groups are active all day, every day. So, once again, TURN GROUPME NOTIFICATIONS ON!
To continue, Instagram pages are, in my opinion, the easiest way to find clothing. Two accounts that you must follow are @buymyclothes_leffer (pictured to the left) and @bargainsonbroadway! Danielle Walder, @bargainsonbroadway founder, even has possible plans to continue selling clothes in the non-Carnival months! Can you guess what I’m about to say next? TURN POST NOTIFICATIONS ON!
As a side note, if you find an outfit on someone’s Instagram page that you absolutely love (and if you’re feeling a bit risky), message them and ask to buy it. Chances are, they are not planning on wearing it ever again!
3. IN-HOUSE SALES
Clear your Sunday, and head to 1001 Broadway Street from 12 to 2 p.m. for this Mardi Gras sale!
Typically, upperclassmen will gather up old clothes, whether that means Mardi Gras outfits, “going out” clothes, shoes, or accessories. They will then do a sale at their house, where you can find pricier items being sold for much cheaper. It’s a win-win—being sustainable AND finding great deals!
This is the second time I am seeing this type of sale come to life. So, with that being said, be on the lookout for other opportunities like this!
4. ONLINE THRIFTING
Honestly, I am saving the best for last. Depop is one of my favorite apps, no question. If you are unfamiliar with Depop, it is an online marketplace where people buy and sell clothes from all over the world. Most importantly, Depop works to change the narrative on fashion by making it more inclusive, more diverse, and less wasteful. Seriously, I can spend hours scrolling through this app. It is dangerous.
In just three minutes, I was able to put this outfit (below) together on Depop. My tip is to search up “rave outfit,” “rave set,” “festival set,” “rave accessories,” etc. in order to find the best items. If you are someone who has a full cart on iHeartRaves or any fast-fashion brand’s website (we are all guilty of doing this), I have good news; typically, you can find exact items from these websites being sold on Depop for way less. Also, you can offer the seller a lower price, which they will usually accept (but do not lowball them)!
**Similar apps to Depop are Poshmark or Mercari.
If it isn’t obvious by now, you have the opportunity to enhance a holiday that, on average, produces almost 1,000 tons of waste. So, save your wallet and save the planet by shopping sustainably this Mardi Gras season—trust me, you will look SO cool doing it.
Cover photo by Sharan Uppal