Thrifting culture resurfaces

Due to vintage, past decades trends, thrifting has become a daily part of Generation Z’s life.


Photo by Ameera Tai.

Thrift stores such as Goodwill carry donated clothes from various decades. Consumers are able to buy the clothes at a significantly lower price compared to retail.

   Shoppers have a common goal; finding the perfect item for the occasion. Some shoppers successfully find the ideal item as they go into the store, but when they check the price tag, they are overwhelmed by the cost. Their next option is to go to a thrift store, and in doing so they find the same item at a significantly lower expense. 

   “I [was] looking for the perfect coat to bring back home, and I knew I wanted it from a thrift store,” senior Natalia Pardo said. “We went into every store, asking for store recommendations and then we found a beautiful shop. [It was] two stories with an abundance of quality clothes, and there I found my coat!” 

   In the previous years, old clothing trends have resurfaced, mainly for Generation Z. This includes vintage clothing and more specifically thrifting. Influencers on TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest alike contribute to the trends with videos like ‘thrift hauls’ and ‘how to find good pieces at thrift stores.’ 

   “You get to see a lot of new things,” junior Brody Logan said. “Not just the fast fashion that’s out at that moment. You see a lot of previous fashion styles and just good pick and choose from all of them.”

   A variety of styles from different decades can be found in many thrift stores due to the donation feature of most second hand stores. This accessibility is unlike that of fast fashion. In most retail stores, the only styles available are those trending at the moment. Pardo believes thrifting is an environmentally friendly way of shopping since buying donated clothing gives already manufactured clothes a new home. This can result in a smaller chance of waste, due to the decrease in carbon emissions since factories are not used to create those clothes. 

   “You’re reusing clothing that’s already been made, so people don’t have to make more clothes or use more resources,” Logan said. “People have realized that it’s more helpful for the environment.”

   Another significant advantage of thrifting is the decline of prices for clothing and other valuable and necessary items. According to BYOtogo, an organization that promotes positive environmental change, clothes that are found in thrift stores are at least half the retail price. Moreover, there can be an interesting story that comes with the clothing. 

   “There’s typically a story with thrifting, especially if you’re buying it from somebody who previously owned it,” Logan said. “The most recent thing I bought was a tour jacket from a war. It’s from this guy who went to the Persian Gulf and it’s got all the flags on the sides.”

   Thrift stores have access to distinctive items that may even be discontinued in the retail market. This adds to the experiences that come with thrifting by giving consumers an adventure, which is a part of the thrill for most. 

   “[I love] the search of it all [and] never knowing what may be hidden in the corner,” Pardo said. “[Also] knowing how these pieces have satisfied someone else and how they may bring joy to myself.”

   While there are many benefits to thrifting, there is still a negative stigma towards the concept. Most of it revolves around the fact that the clothes have been used before and is seen as being used by those of low income.

   “The stigma of the clothes, [is] that they’re of a low degrading quality or just for low-income households,” said Pardo.

   Even so, Pardo believes that recently, due to Generation Z’s valuing environmental consciousness, there has been more research put into thrifting resulting in less stigma around it. She believes that it is one of the main reasons as to why thrifting has become more popularized. 

   Though thrifting has become popularized, there are still misunderstandings on beneficial ways to thrift. According to Pardo, it is important to keep in mind whether the item being bought is something that is truly wanted and will be well used. 

   “I [also] wish that people knew how important it is to not only shop at second hand stores, but to also donate to them as well,” Pardo said.

   Not only do thrift stores sell clothing, they have a variety of other finds such as books, furniture, vinyl records and CDs.The purpose of thrift stores is to provide an accessible source of items that pertain to a diverse set of interests. 

   “I would just say go do it,” Logan said. “ If you want to get into it, go to Google, look up ‘thrift store near me’ [and go].  Don’t be scared if you think it looks shifty, because almost all of the time it’s the nicest people ever. You just got to go out and look for things.”