Being Thrifty

Thrifting culture gains popularity.

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Being Thrifty

Artwork by Greer Fabregas

Artwork by Greer Fabregas

Artwork by Greer Fabregas

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Walking around South High, one may notice a particular type of fashion scattered through its halls, a breed of style that’s hard to put a finger on. This trend can be described as niche, authentic, especial, and vintage. This vogue comes from thrifting, the practice of buying cheap second-hand clothes from thrift shops. Among teens today, thrifting has grown from a necessity to a trend to a subculture, but perhaps more interesting than the style itself, however, is the philosophy and mindset that fuel thrifting culture. The unique, often revolutionary, ideas associated with thrifting can be found among many students at South.

Many students who thrift have a particular mindset behind it. One such student is senior Melody Walkenhorst who believes that collectivism plays a part in thrifting. According to Webster dictionary, collectivism is the emphasis of the group over the individual.

“Fast fashion culture is wasteful and exploitative, and I think it reflects our expectation for individualism at any cost. We’re so detached from the things we consume and part of why people are drawn to thrifting is that we do need connection with each other and with the objects in our lives. Who else wore this sweater before me? What did they do in it? It’s a more intimate way of owning things. In a world that encourages detachment, I think we could all stand to get a little more invested in anything, and there’s something appealing about literally wearing that ideology,” Walkenhorst said.

Jonica Dandridge, junior, shares similar thoughts. She says she enjoys thrifting because of its uniqueness, describing the style as inclusive and expressive.

“ I like exploring new styles, so thrifting allows me to do it for cheap. I also enjoy cutting up my clothes so cheap clothing comes in handy. I also consider it a form of recycling. Instead of buying new clothing, I can turn to stuff that has already been manufactured. I think my peers thrift because it’s cheap and nostalgia is trendy right now. Anything dealing with fashion is a lifestyle and it’s expression. I’ll have so many lifelong memories from going thrifting on weekends or all of the compliments that I get from my outfits. For me it’s like my own personal culture. When a lot of people who know me well think of me, they think of thrifting,” Dandridge said.

Morgan Erutti, senior, also credits this generation’s value on nostalgia as  a virtue of thrifting culture as well as the repurposing of thrifted clothes.

“Thrifting is about finding previously loved items or really bizzare things. It’s more of an adenue than just shopping. It connects to other people because you always think  about who has it before you. Thrifting culture consists a lot of younger people connecting to older things and styles and unique objects,” she says.

Madeline McPherson, senior, points out a positive effect of the bloom in thrifting culture.

“It’s become a trendy thing to do, which I appreciate for kids who might be ashamed to thrift or have no other choice.I think it’s great that we are deviating from the culture of cheaper clothing being an embarrassing thing,” McPherson says.

Another common theme that can be found amidst thrifting culture is the revoluarty aspect of it, particularly articulated by senior Jonathan Brodsky.

“It’s honestly kinda anti-establishment since they aren’t corporate stored and the clothes aren’t all big name brands,” Brodysky said.

Among this generation, one can notice is the common rise of a cry for justice and truth — for the death of the artificiality and exploitation of the system, and the culture of thrifting is one of the small ways to embody that, according to the Marketing Management Society.

“None of the systems we’ve been taught to trust are certain anymore. Nothing is real besides like …human connection, and this generation is fully aware of that, and we’re keepin it funky fresh and wearing big sweaters,” Walkenhorst said.

Thrifting culture has been developed by recent generations into a unique set of trends and ideologies that continue to evolve as we do in response to society.

“There’s something almost aspirational about it too… I probably won’t ever be an old lady with a retirement fund and an abundance of leisure time, so why not live little bits of that life my whole life? It’s like the old jokes about people buying fine china and never using it because it’s never a big enough occasion; why not make every day a ‘cheapo’ fine china day?” Walkenhorst says.

For one who wants to get into the thrifting trend, there are many stores in the South High area that were suggested: Plato’s Closet, Saver’s, Goodwill, and Avalon Exchange in the Delmar Loop. Going thrifting with friends was a fun, common outing described by most sources.

“I like thrifting because it’s such an easy way to feel like I am dressing in a way that is uniquely me. I think it requires more dedication that regular shopping because you have to go through every nook to ensure you’re not missing anything. It’s kind of like gambling, actually,” senior Rachel Ganey said.

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