Out with the New in with the Used

Emily Leach, Staff Writer

Some good finds from your local thrift store.

Over the past 4-5 months of 2020, we have seen many new, creative, and unexpected trends emerge from social media. Fancy face masks, custom jewelry, and even creative room décor are just some of the trends that have been seen on social media over this quarantine summer. However, one of the seemingly most popular trends of this year has been Thrift Shopping.

Thrift stores, according to Oxford Languages, can be defined as “a store selling secondhand clothes and other household goods, typically to raise funds for a charitable institution” (Oxford Languages). Thrift stores and items found at thrift stores have recently begun to attract attention, especially among teenagers, for many reasons. Many users on the social media app TikTok have posted the things that they have found while thrift shopping, like jeans, t-shirts, dresses, and small pieces of furniture. Many people have also praised thrift shop items for their cheap prices, sustainability, and “vintage, one-of-a-kind” aspect. “The reason why I went [thrift shopping] is that…most of the time I don’t have enough money to go to the stores I want to go to; and also because you can find really good vintage stuff for an affordable price” Ella Adam, Sophomore, said when asked why she likes going thrift shopping.

When thrift shopping, it is known that it can be very hard to find items that fit a certain style. However, many on social media say that in order to always find at least one item at a thrift store, there must be some sort of strategy to looking through the thousands of items on the racks. “My methods would know what color looks best on you,” Sarah Degner, a senior at ALHS, says, “look in the pajama section, look in both the girl AND boy section…and try to imagine what you already have that you could wear with the item.”

Thrift Stores, although their popularity has been seen a lot more due to social media, have been around since the late 1800s. In 1879, the first Salvation Army came to the United States. Then, in 1902, “Goodwill Industries [was] founded in Boston” (thredup.com). In the year 1919, the term “thrift shop” was created to describe stores that sell secondhand items. For years, after the term was created, thrift shops had a relatively steady flow of income. However, in 2008, after a Stock Market crash that caused the Great Recession, thrift stores and other resale stores saw an average of 35% increase in sales. Ever since then, thrift stores have had increased sales because of its growing popularity over the past decade.

Many changes have occurred due to the impact that COVID-19 and quarantine. Thousands of people in the U.S alone have had a hard time financially, with some people even losing their jobs and businesses altogether. Since thrift shopping is a very easy way to get sustainable and well-made clothing at an affordable cost, more and more people have turned to it in order to get clothing and other household items. Along with this, social media has also shed new light on thrift stores and their benefits. Both of these factors likely play into the reason why there has been a sudden increased interest in thrift stores and purchasing second-hand items.