Does the concept of wearing someone else’s clothes or buying their used items seem weird or unsanitary to you? Well, you’re not alone. Thrift shopping, an activity previously characterized as “unsanitary” or “only for the poor,” recently has started to grow in popularity as a new fashion trend.
Anybody, nowadays, can walk into a thrift shop with some cash and possibly find a diamond in the rough, which happens more often than you’d think. Some customers even go thrift shopping to later resell their finds online for profit, similar to the street wear market that has taken over mostly men’s and boy’s fashion in the past few years.
The popular resale company “Goodwill” says it experienced an 84 percent increase in its revenue from 2012 to 2017. With this amount of growth, high school students must be all over this fashion fiesta.
Sophomore Lukas Baines reflects on his history of thrift shopping.
“I was looking for cheap clothes and bought some nice shorts that only cost $5,” Baines said.
Compare this to the popular clothing brand American Eagle, where the average pair of similar shorts for men cost around $45.
“I was not going to buy jeans for $80 when I could buy them for $10,” junior Brianna Alexander said.
Alexander was comparing the prices at a thrift store to Abercrombie, a popular clothing brand found in various malls and outlets.
“I also found a $180 Patagonia jacket reselling for only $20,” Alexander said.
Patagonia frequently lists its jackets for a high price, so finding one for such a low price was a great deal. Buyers are profiting from this new trend by purchasing name brand clothing in thrift stores and reselling the pieces online. A local thrift shop, The Salvation Army Family Store in Manassas, sees a lot of customers throughout the day.
“We get about 1,500 (people) a day. On Wednesdays we get around 2,000 because it’s 25 percent off day,” said Justin, one of the employees who works at the front entrance of the store.
“Most people buy clothes, a lot of clothes,” Justin said. “Half of the time it’s furniture too, we have a lot of good furniture.”
The store sanitizes everything, tests any electronics that have been donated, and repairs any devices they find fixable. Justin shared one of his recent shopping finds.
“I just bought a TV today for $149, with 25 percent off since it’s Wednesday,” Justin said.
The Salvation Army Family Store had quite a bit to offer. From furniture to album CDs and movie DVDs, the prices were surprisingly cheap and the products themself were in more than usable condition. The t-shirt racks were flooded with graphic tees from summer camps and sports teams which told a story and gave the feeling of false nostalgia. As you look around you can see people endlessly swiping by each hanger trying to find something worth keeping.
Don’t expect to walk in the store and be bombarded with the coolest, most fashionable items because that is not how thrift stores work. It’s like digging for treasure, tedious but addictive when your brain is in the right mindset.