Thrifting on the rise, especially in college
Macklemore said it best — One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
According to the National Association of Resale Professionals, thrift stores across America have seen a rise in public interest in recent years. Currently, there are about 25,000 not-for-profit, consignment and resale shops in the U.S. and the number has been increasing.
“You have to go through a lot of junk to find something good in a thrift store,” journalism freshman Shelby Burnett said. “But once you find something good, you find something good.”
With a tight budget and usually a large amount of student loan debt hanging above their heads, many students are seeking cheaper alternatives to buying clothes.
“My mom loves that I’m not spending all of my money on clothes anymore,” Burnett said. “She tried to get me into thrift stores when I was young, but it wasn’t until I had to manage my own money that I really started going.”
Burnett said for her, thrift shopping has always been apart of her life. Her whole family loves it — sometimes, they go on family excursions to thrift stores together. But the biggest thing for Burnett, her family and many others, is price.
“It’s what they can afford,” Salvation Army store manager Pandora Livingston said. “The big thing with thrift shopping is the trendiness. You can buy things (at a thrift store) that you could get at the mall for around 80 percent less.”
Both trends and low prices drive East Lansing’s local Plato’s Closet. The store prides itself on being relevant to current fashion trends by only carrying clothes, jewelry and accessories recently in style.
“We’re cool because we buy clothes that have been in the stores for the past year to year and a half so they’re all a really current style. ... We sell them at one-third of what it was priced for in their original stores,” Plato’s Closet store manager Whitney Covert said. “I go to the mall and I’m shocked at the prices.”
While plenty of students are buying resale, Livingston said the same amount are also donating. Students, she said, have fully accepted the thrifting cycle.
“It’s like a revolving door,” Livingston said. “After you donate, you’re going to come back in and find new things that you want and those things are going to go right back in your closet, or your house.”
At the end of the day, Burnett said her favorite thing about thrift shopping is the ability she has to find something interesting.
“My mom likes to call me a hippie because of what I wear,” Burnett said. “But I call my personal style ‘unique.’ That’s why I like to thrift shop—you can’t find anything else like some of the things you find there.”