Thrifting Instagrams of Conn: A Firsthand Account of Secondhand Fashion

With thrifting and sustainable fashion becoming increasingly trendy, Connecticut College students are seeing their instagram feeds fill with pictures of clothes for sale. This phenomenon began with the birth of instagram account @thriftycamel, and now, if feels as though a new thrifting instagram account is popping up every day with gently used outerwear, night-out clothes, tops, and more being sold at reduced prices. By the time this article goes live, it may be outdated due to the emergence of even more thrift accounts. I decided to interview four of these accounts, @thriftycamel, @brokebinchsellingstuff, @conncollthrift, and @camelcloset_, to learn more about their style, interest in sustainability, motivation behind their accounts, and more. Read on to learn more about what's happening behind the clothes! 

 

1. Who runs this account?

@thriftycamel: I, Rose Montera, run this account. I am a senior, identify as a female, and am an art history major.

@brokebinchsellingstuff: I am a sophomore girl and it’s just me!

@conncollthrift: My name is Dana Barnes '19 and I run @conncollthrift by myself. My pronouns are she/her.

@camelcloset_: It’s run by Amy Zou ‘19 and Serenity Chen ‘20.

 

2. Do you yourself shop secondhand or are passionate about sustainable fashion?

@thriftycamel: I love shopping secondhand. I feel like you find such unique clothing that really shocks! Also, it’s way more affordable. [It] can be hard to get new things as a college student.

@brokebinchsellingstuff: I definitely support sustainable fashion but I don’t shop it exclusively.

@conncollthrift: I shop secondhand most of the time because I am passionate about sustainable fashion, and I donate my clothes frequently.

@camelcloset_: Yes, I (Serenity) love thrifting and there are quite a few vintage consignment stores in my hometown, Westerly, Rhode Island. When I was in high school, I often would go to yard sales in the summer with my friend who shares my love for thrifting. We love finding clothes that have history, character, and that are unique. It was until I came to Conn when I was educated in sustainability, which gave me a bigger purpose than just buying vintage clothes.

 

3. What inspired you to start this account?

@thriftycamel: I started this account because I looked at my closet last spring and a lot of the clothes had not been worn all year. While they were very fun and funky, I felt like I had outgrown a lot of them... so I wanted to clean out my closet essentially. I did a clothing sale and people responded really positively to it. A lot of people who don’t have cars also said it was nice to be able to shop on campus. And that inspired me to start an online clothing/thrifting account. It also is just so, so important to recycle and reuse clothing. So many things at goodwill and thrift stores are in perfect condition... that’s what I try to do with my clothing as well. And I hope people get good use out of them. Like a passing of the baton!

@brokebinchsellingstuff: I started this account because I saw other accounts doing it and it seemed like a good way to make money and get rid of clothes I don’t wear or that don’t fit me.

@conncollthrift:  I have so many clothes but I never get around to wearing all of it. I saw @thriftycamel and @camelcloset_ doing well, so I decided to give it a shot. I chose Instagram because I think it's the most shared platform on Conn's campus and it's really simple.

@camelcloset_: My roommate Amy and I started the account over spring break. Understanding the impact that Instagram has on our generation, we knew that this is the right platform for us to promote sustainable shopping. We both love shopping and have accumulated a lot of clothes in the past few years. Since I am graduating this May, I feel that there are a lot of clothes I probably won’t wear after college. And traditional consignment stores usually take a commission fee over 40%, so we decided to cut off the middleman and sell directly to the student body.

 

4. Where do you get the clothes? How do you decide which clothes to sell?

@thriftycamel: If I haven’t worn it in a long time [or] don’t have an emotional attachment, I sell it! I also sell clothes for other people.

@brokebinchsellingstuff: The clothes are all mine or I ordered them online and they didn’t fit. Sometimes my friends use this as a platform for their old clothes.

@conncollthrift: The clothes are mostly mine with a few items from my friends. It's stuff that I like too much to give away or paid to much for and feel guilty for not wearing it. I want them to go to nice, loving homes.

@camelcloset_: The clothes we are selling are all from our own closets. We would’ve considered selling for other students if we had started the account earlier on. Since we are both double majors and are involved on campus, we decided  that it’s easier to just limit to selling our own clothes.

 

5. Would you say your account as a particular “style” and if so, how would you describe it?

@thriftycamel: I don’t think it has a particular style... its should be relatively diverse and hopefully anyone feels like their style can be reflected there. That being said, I would like to sell more men’s clothing and larger sizes more often.

@brokebinchsellingstuff: The account really doesn’t have a style and is more a hodgepodge of different styles!

@conncollthrift: I would say it's grandpa style.

@camelcloset_: I think our clothes say a lot about us as individuals. We sell a variety of styles in our closet, yet we are not confined to one particular style. Our closet is targeted towards a variety of personalities. Just like most individuals on campus, no labels can define us. As a result, we find this question particularly difficult to answer, if we have to describe it, I think the term would be “relatable” (to a certain degree).

 

6. What types of items are the easiest to sell? What items are the hardest?

@thriftycamel: I think classic and expensive brands sell really quickly. A lot of Free People, Urban Outfitters sell quickly. I think because people recognize the brand and know that they’ll be getting it like 90% off if they get if from me. Also wacky, funky, going out clothes sell like hot cakes! I think items that don’t photograph super well can be tough to sell.

@brokebinchsellingstuff: It is easier to sell cheap items that are currently trendy or popular among young adults. Shirts seem easier to sell than pants, but people like cheap jeans a lot!

@conncollthrift: Nobody has been interested in the dresses. People really like vintage crewnecks and rugby shirts.

@camelcloset_: It really depends, as you can see, we sell accessories and other items as well. We’ve noticed that outfits for a night out and more versatile items seem to be the most popular.

7. What sets your account apart from the other Conn Coll thrifting accounts?

@thriftycamel: I think I really try to put my voice in it! I also try and support local events going on around campus and New London more often. Things like clothing swaps and donations that might be needed are always advertised. I also donate 20% of all proceeds to Planned Parenthood, which was the program people chose on a poll on my insta story early on when I started the account. And lastly, I have been working with the Office of Sustainability to organize a campus-wide clothing swap. I also think I was the first!

@brokebinchsellingstuff: Honestly, this account is the same as every other Conn Coll thrifting account, except the clothes are different and I’m not very good at taking flattering photos of the clothes in a dorm room.

@conncollthrift: I think @conncollthrift has a very distinct grandpa, vintage style which I feel like is becoming more mainstream these days. I think it's cool that the Conn thrifting accounts all have different styles.

@camelcloset_: We think everyone’s closet is unique. You can get a good sense of who they are as individuals and what they represent by looking at their accounts. We think what sets our account apart is that we’re driven by the idea of sustainable fashion. As a generation, we are conditioned to consuming fast fashion at a cheaper cost. Although fast fashion is appealing, it comes at a massive human and environmental cost. As a result, our account helps to promote sustainable fashion and reduce the consumption of new garments.

 

8. Do you think that your account and the promotion of thrifting has caused an impact on campus? If so, how would you describe it?

@thriftycamel: I think it has clothed a bunch of people! It has cleared out space for others. So that’s a pretty big impact. But hopefully, it has promoted the idea of sustainable shopping to more people! I think with the clothing swap and with my account, I have inspired others to start their own clothing accounts which is super cool to see. I think there are like 5-6 now, so that is cool to see!

@brokebinchsellingstuff: I think these accounts have made instagram more fun and encouraged students to buy secondhand.

@conncollthrift: I think it has influenced others to also sell their unwanted clothes, which is cool because Conn is walkable and an ideal place to do something like this. I think it's a better and more sustainable version of fast fashion.

@camelcloset_: When we made our account over spring break, we were one of the only two thrifting accounts run by female students. We’ve notice a lot more closets popping up now, which we see as a positive influence on campus. We are really enjoying running the account, meeting a lot of people that we wouldn’t normally interact with.