Big Tees and Mom Jeans

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Big Tees and Mom Jeans

Megan Mills, Staff Writer

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For many teenagers, thrift shopping does not just bring back memories of the hit Macklemore song that rose to fame six years ago. Many teenage girls consider thrifting a regular hobby- something considered a part of their identity.

Thrift shopping among high school students is on the rise as fashion trends from the 80s and 90s cycle back to fame. According to Winmark Franchises, an average of 15 percent of Americans actively shopped at thrift or resale stores in 2018, a number that has climbed from 12 percent in 2010. In a survey conducted with 51 responses from students at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, 56.9 percent of those surveyed reported that they go thrift shopping more than once a month. For high schoolers looking for a fresh, new way to save, thrift shopping provides an easy method to get trendy items without breaking the bank. This activity allows people to emulate a certain time period by purchasing authentically vintage items rather than something made to look vintage by popular retailers.

“Styles from the 90s are coming back and teens don’t want to spend all of their money at high-priced, vintage stores like Urban Outfitters. It’s so much more convenient to go to a thrift store and find similar items at a fraction of the price,” says WWS senior, Isabel Santos.

The resale and thrifting industry currently demonstrates a growth rate of about seven percent per year, according to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops. NARTS attributes this growth to Americans becoming more conscious of value and aware of the need to reduce waste and recycle clothes and other goods.

“My favorite part of thrift shopping is the opportunity to find cheap vintage pieces to wear. Old clothes are given a new home and you save money, so it’s a win-win,” says WWS student Neila Petrovic.

According to Reuters, in Feb. 2018, retail sales decreased 0.3 percent. This was the largest recorded decline in retail sales since Feb. 2017. Retail shops commonly close their doors due to lack of sales. Ever since Feb., sales in the retail industry stood at a slight, but steady decline while the resale and thrifting industry continues to grow.

Out of the 51 WWS Students surveyed, 100 percent of respondents who claim to thrift shop often go thrift shopping primarily for clothes rather than household items or furniture. The prevalence of thrifting as an alternative to retail shopping holds strong among high school students.

To continue the growth of the thrift shopping industry, store and clothing upkeep stand as crucial factors. The most common negative experience that WWS students had with thrift shopping was that stores were, “dirty,” or “messy.” If stores would like to increase sales, prioritizing the appearance of their vintage clothing and cleanliness of their stores would likely be an effective first step.

WWS Senior, Maggie O’Hara says, “The issue that many people have with thrift shopping is the thought of buying used clothing that may or may not be clean. If thrift and resale shops focused on making the clothes and store as a whole more clean, I would be much more likely to make a purchase.”