How Secondhand Stores Contribute to Georgetown Student Style

For Ana Cajina, manager of community consignment shop Frugalista in Columbia Heights, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced an influx of a new shopper demographic: faculty college students.

“I noticed a shift in the pandemic. Following two many years, I can see now that young adults — 18, 20, 21 year-olds, college or university college students — are more open to acquiring from a secondhand retail outlet,” Cajina mentioned in an interview with The Hoya. “In 2015, I did not see that. I guess due to the fact it has grown on the web.” 

Cajina characteristics this increase in desire in secondhand procuring from younger generations to on line thrift retailers like Poshmark, which several younger people today turned to when in-man or woman purchasing was unsafe because of COVID-19. 

This craze in consignment searching continued even after the peak of the pandemic had passed, and adopted when individuals began to store in bodily suppliers once more, according to Cajina. 

“I would say that remaining in the business and with my mother and father having been in the business considering that 1999, I have in no way observed our prospects at this young age until two or a few a long time ago,” Cajina mentioned. 

Buying for earlier used goods has come to be Gen-Z’s new favored pastime, shifting the connotation of secondhand apparel from anything considered uncouth, a classist generalization, to the peak of “cultured,” Cajina said.

“They’re looking at that it is ok to obtain secondhand. I can see that it is shifting in their minds, like, ‘Yeah, I can buy this. It belonged to any person, but I can reuse it myself because it’s continue to superior,’” Cajina advised The Hoya. 

Georgetown’s thrift retail store scene is a thriving setting. Thrift stores supply a way for customers to choose an environmentally-mindful stance, with the inherently recycled nature of secondhand clothing diverting substantially of the pollution garments output produces and preserving 1000’s of lbs of supplies from ending up in dumps all over the environment. 

Secondhand Style

Gen-Z is dependable for just about doubling the value of the next-hand apparel marketplace with their new interest in obtaining previously-utilized products and even offering goods they no for a longer time dress in alternatively of throwing them out. 

Thrift stores come across their roots in helping to provide reduced revenue group users, delivering clothing and domestic goods, frequently from donations, for lower charges than other outlets.

Nevertheless now thrifting would seem to some as just a fashionable hobby, thrifting is a necessity for low income communities, in accordance to Becks Truong (COL ’24).

“It is dependent on cash flow, students’ availability to access clothing, and also sizing for the reason that I know some of individuals retailers are not normally inclusive,” Truong claimed. “The accessibility of retailers plays a massive variable in what men and women can wear and what persons can invest in.”

Thrift browsing also offers an chance to produce new associations and bolster bonds across communities, in accordance to Isabella King (COL ’24). 

King, who served approach Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority’s thrift pop-up retail outlet in Red Sq. on Georgetown’s campus Feb. 27, advised The Hoya she was ready to meet new individuals even though also boosting cash for Active Minds, a nonprofit organization and Georgetown club that encourages mental health consciousness.

“It was a definitely excellent encounter and I had enjoyable speaking to the folks who were purchasing there and telling them ‘Oh, you must seem at the shirt’ or serving to them with their garments,” King stated.

With manner developments, like low-waisted jeans and butterfly clips, from decades in the past circling again into popularity, getting capable to find concealed gems wedged in concerning faded substantial college sweatshirts and bedazzled Xmas sweaters at your local Goodwill has turn into a mark of a correct trend pro.

Sifting via piles of outfits, separating the “I’m using this” from the “definitely not,” is a time-consuming still satisfying method, according to Rita Alan (COL ’24), co-leader of an environmental coverage workforce at Georgetown Renewable Strength and Environmental Community (Green). 

“Not everything’s likely to be some thing that suits your model or performs for you, but there undoubtedly are matters that are super sweet,” Alan advised The Hoya. “I would also say just hold an open mind and type of be able to see the natural beauty in issues that have now been worn.”

As another person who has managed a long lasting consignment retail outlet considering that the 1990s, Cajina echoed these sentiments. 

“I appreciate to interact with men and women. People today are coming, they speak to you. And because we are little, we know you. You’re not just a person customer that you are coming in, like at Goal, which is a massive company. So when I see your encounter when, and I see it the future time, I’m like, ‘He came back, he appreciated what he acquired from here.’” 

By consignment procuring, folks can merge the act of bonding and neighborhood developing with a type of treasure hunt, sifting via discarded scraps of material to discover a once-beloved short article of clothes and give it new daily life, all whilst uplifting smaller companies.

Environmentally friendly is In

The selling price paid out for trend extends far past the confines of a wallet. With each individual piece of apparel necessitating liters of h2o to create, and with 85% of textiles ending up in dumps each individual 12 months, the destructive environmental effect of manufacturing a new shirt or pair of pants is exacerbated by speedy-paced output that attempts to preserve up with the most recent manner trends. 

By squeezing out as a lot of uses from one item of clothing as doable, thrifting alleviates some of this environmental stress, in accordance to Carolyn Becker, senior supervisor of community engagement at the Goodwill of Higher Washington. Rapid style generates 10% of all carbon emissions, so shopping for secondhand outfits is an environmentally aware alternative.

“From a sustainability standpoint, of course when it comes to thrifting with the electric power of secondhand, it is an environmentally helpful and environmentally smart detail to do, employing the points that you like and that you’ve gently used in donating them so that we can hold millions and just tens of millions and millions of kilos of products out of place landfills,” Becker stated in an job interview with The Hoya.

Getting into the mentality of reusing requires giving specific items of outfits a likelihood, even if they do not appear to be to be a perfect match style-wise at the initially glance, in accordance to Alan, who aided build Unheard of Threads, GREEN’s thrift rack. 

Alan and her co-leader, Paul Aversa (SFS ’25), assisted develop a compact-scale thrift retailer comprised of donated outfits from students, found in The Corp’s Unusual Grounds, hoping to offer a lower-price tag and sustainable choice for people on campus. Some problems the mini-keep has confronted are consciousness and certain procuring practices pushed by rapidly-paced style. 

“You have to be open up-minded mainly because with quickly trend, we seem at factors and we’re straight away like, ‘Oh — it’s a yes or no,’” Alan mentioned. “We see things as tremendous fashionable due to the fact of all of these like micro-developments that have been designed by TikTok and how fast word spreads on-line.”

Youthful people, in particular among Gen-Z, appear to be to be driving a craze in thrifting mainly thanks to the comprehended environmental rewards linked with the exercise, according to Sharon Figueroa, an employee at Urban Thrift in close by Kensington, Md. 

“Thrifting is turning into pretty well known, and I test to pressure it all the time because it’s so good for the atmosphere. And these youngsters are likely to be living with the setting a full large amount longer than I am,” Figueroa stated in an interview with The Hoya. 

Georgetown college students appear conscious of the unsafe impact that speedy vogue can have on the surroundings and are thrifting extra as a end result, according to King. 

“A great deal of individuals in our generation are moving toward currently being much more environmentally helpful when it will come to garments options,” King mentioned. “Reusing, recycling these clothes is getting a extremely massive thing now, alongside with thrift suppliers becoming quite revitalized and very preferred amongst our era.”

On the selling facet, thrift outlets and consignors also concur on the importance of acquiring secondhand apparel as a means of recycling, in accordance to Sehvar Bor, the operator of Pretty Chic, a secondhand and consignment shop positioned on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. 

“I motivate marketing secondhand because it is also recycling. You’re helping the natural environment,” Bor explained in an job interview with The Hoya. “You’re getting great use of the similar shoe or exact clothes.”

A 2nd(-hand) Loved ones

Thrift outlets also usually seem to enrich their area communities. By serving the citizens of the better D.C. spot however supplying selected discounted times or offering academic opportunities like large school diploma programs, thrift outlets are supplying again to the District. 

For Cajina, jogging a secondhand store is about much more than just selling clothing. It is also about forming a group in D.C. and supporting ladies business entrepreneurs, like Cajina and her mom.

“I like to see the faces of the prospects when I recall a little something about them simply because, like I stated, you’re not just a single more purchaser,” Cajina reported. “You’re not just any person that will come in and pays the income. No, you are supporting preserve us in company. This is a women-owned company, and we appreciate that you are taking your time and taking your dollars and made a decision to spend it right here. It signifies a large amount.”

The Goodwill of Better Washington, situated on South Dakota Avenue, also gives plans to aid members of the D.C. local community acquire work coaching and other qualified improvement expert services. 

“Goodwill actually gives a selection of totally free task education systems and career coaching products and services to all those in will need in the neighborhood. And some of people job instruction plans and occupation training applications include strength and design, hospitality in the earlier,” Becker mentioned. “Goodwill cash our mission by our outlets as perfectly as deal services and other ventures like our on line keep.” 

Some thrift stores like the Goodwill of Increased Washington are fully commited to furnishing support to their communities through skilled progress and superior university diploma instruction courses, according to Becker. 

“Year immediately after yr, we offer work placement aid expert services or job plans, career coaching to hundreds of customers of the D.C. local community,” Becker stated. “Hundreds of District residents are obtaining and earning their higher university diplomas and we know the electrical power of a substantial school diploma in any marketplace and just the inner thoughts of delight that you have when you generate that doc in the long run that lies in advance is genuinely remarkable,” Becker said. 

For Alan, thrifting provides the chance to give again to the Georgetown local community as well. Having said that, even even though thrifting has noticed a new rise in attractiveness, Alan claims some pupils still do not see the price in obtaining used dresses. 
“We require to perform on the visibility and not just spreading the phrase about this feasible thrift keep, but in fact spreading the term on how it functions and who it gains since all the proceeds go to Mutual Support.”