Recently Forever 21 was reported to be near declaring bankruptcy. As horrible a blow as it is to the company’s many employees, it’s a big win for sustainable fashion! Forever 21 is one of the most prominent purveyors of fast fashion in the world. Such a company was not expected to be taken down this early in the fight against the fast fashion industry. While sustainable shoppers around the world rejoice in the company’s downfall, it’s important to remember that the retailer was among the few fashionable places many people could afford to shop, especially students, teenagers, and low-income families. There are, however, other ways to shop for fashionable clothing on a budget while also reducing your carbon footprint. By far, thrifting is the best way to shop sustainably and has been enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to social media. Oftentimes, finding a good thrift store can be difficult and for many people not worth the effort. The quality of the clothing item, however, doesn’t depend on the selection in the store. For the most part, thrift stores and consignment shops aren’t necessarily the most fashionable places but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold a gem or two.
Here in Salt Lake City, the DI is the biggest thrifting hub, but other places shouldn’t be overlooked as you thrift store and consignment shop hop.
On the corner of 300 S. and 400 E., iconoClad is a cute consignment shop full of great deals. I’d be lying if I said you didn’t have to put some effort into finding the goods, but that’s the case with any store you go into: especially thrift and consignment shops. Luckily, this store is VERY organized and it isn’t at all difficult to find the right size racks so you’ll know almost immediately where to do your digging. They have wonderful service and their employees are extremely helpful, which makes the entire shopping experience much more enjoyable.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a better thrift store. Technically, they’re a consignment shop but their prices scream thrifty. Not only do they have a range of clothing styles and brands available, but the sheer amount of quality clothing (and shoes!) was amazing, mesmerizing, breathtaking, you name it! Usually, at chain thrift stores like Goodwill, you get a lot of the same generic, out of fashion clothing, among which you’ll find a few workable pieces. Uptown Cheapskate reverses this model and it’s truly one of the best things this sustainable shopper has ever seen. Having heard that the downtown location has a better selection, it was the only location I paid a visit to. That said, you can’t overlook the Sugarhouse location. It would be a crime to assume that their selection boasts absolutely no fashionable pieces based on rumors.
Like the DI, Savers is on par with Goodwill and the Salvation Army. It doesn’t look like it has much to offer, but that isn’t to say that you’re guaranteed failure. With a little bit of creativity, you can turn a wearable piece of clothing into something trendy that you’ll want to wear outside. Savers is also a great place to find Halloween costumes, and I don’t mean actual costumes people bought at Halloween stores and then donated. I’m talking a completely original costume that no one else will have and will most likely not cause a blow to your bank account (that you’ll also have to put together yourself). Last year, one of my roommates and I decided in the middle of a Savers shopping trip that we’d dress up as Sharpay and Gabriella from “High School Musical” for Halloween. She bought a white jacket, white mini skirt, pink tank top, and gold sandals, all horribly reminiscent of 2008. I bought a generic sundress that I believed could’ve been a part of Gabriella’s wardrobe for an easy $6. While we didn’t end up using these costumes (it was 35 degrees and our costumes were made for summer weather, sue us) we didn’t necessarily regret buying them. They were cheap and didn’t set us back a whole lot. Long story short, Savers is great for inexpensive clothing, but to find the good stuff you definitely have to dig.
No Utah thrift store post would be complete without at least mentioning the DI. In my experience, I’ve found better clothes at the DI than at Savers, so it’s worth a look. One of my best thrift store finds is a dark brown corduroy jacket with a sort of paisley pattern that’s honestly kind of ugly and looks like your grandma’s couch from the ’70s, but the second I saw it I knew it had to be mine. And I found it at the DI, in Provo no less! Amid the millions of BYU t-shirts and other memorabilia, there are some hidden gems. It may take some searching to find them, but you will not be disappointed when you do!
Salt Lake City is home to various thrift stores, but these have been the most fruitful in my experience, and have some of the better service and atmospheres. When you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, thrift shopping is one great way to do that, especially if you’re a serial shopper prone to retail therapy (it happens to all of us at one point or another). Thrifting is also one of the best ways to save money when you shop, which is a problem college students have to deal with every day. The next time you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe, look no further than your local thrift stores!