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Thrifting: A Cultural Movement

Thrifting: A Cultural Movement

By Madison Snyder

Is Goodwill the new Forever 21? Goodwill’s sales increased 84% between 2007 and 2012, according to CNN. Why, you ask? One word: thrifting. This fashion trend has been on the rise over the past decade and isn’t stopping anytime soon.

How did it begin?

Vintage jeans and oversized ’90s sweaters have become popular in recent years, leading young women to scavenge the cluttered racks of Goodwill to find the perfect pair of high-waisted $3 Levi’s. So when did teens start ditching traditional e-commerce sites and department stores for thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange and Salvation Army?

With the overwhelming number of stores and online platforms offered to consumers in today’s retail environment, thrifting differentiates itself by offering a unique proposition. Thrifting isn’t just a way to shop—it’s a social activity. “‘It’s a thing you can do with your friends. It’s kinda like asking someone to go to coffee,” an avid thrifter told The Oklahoma Daily.

Recession leads shoppers to thrift

It’s no coincidence that Goodwill sales began rising dramatically in 2007, the year of the recession. People turned to thrifting out of necessity, rather than for recreational purposes. Something about getting an amazing deal on a unique vintage garment evokes a sense of accomplishment and pride. Perhaps, this is why the trend has prevailed since its surge in popularity 10 years ago.

Is thrifting here to stay?

Time will tell. The interactive and exciting nature of thrifting is a unique retail model, and will prevail over traditional department stores that are currently declining due to the lack of this special, social aspect. Plus, clothing styles always cycle back; therefore, thrifting will always be relevant.

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