Whether it’s considered it a trend, an art or just a simple way to have fun with friends, thrifiting is not uncommon among Lawrence students.
What is a thrift store? Put simply, it’s a shop that usually sells used and donated goods. While some are affiliated with charitable organizations, others are privately owned and maintained.
Near the Lawrence bubble, two well-known thrift stores in the Appleton area are the Fox Valley Thrift Shoppe and St. Vincent de Paul. The former is only a few minutes walk from campus, making it a popular place to shop among students. There is also the local Good Will and Salvation Army.
Lawrence students shop at thrift stores for a wide range of reasons. For one, its an affordable way to restock your wardrobe, or to purchase a new article of clothing that would otherwise be too expensive for a college student’s budget. Said freshman Gabrielle Rakidzich, “It allows you to have a new outfit without wasteful and hurting your wallet.”
Freshman Romelle Loiseau, who accustomed to shopping at thrift stores in his hometown of New York City, also prefers thrifitng because it’s an affordable way to style. Said Loiseau, “[Thrifting] comes in handy a lot. Being a college kid away from home- I’m on a budget. Even though I have a job it comes in handy when I want to find a nice tie, or shirt, for cheap.”
Another motivation for thrifting would be that it’s an environmentally friendly way to shop. While the production and coloration of clothing can harm our planet, purchasing clothes from thrift stores is a good way to reuse cloth that might otherwise be piling up in landfills.
Another plus — shopping at a thrift shop is a way to find one of a kind and unique clothing.
When asked if she thrifts often, sophomore Kelsi Brunn-Bryant replied, “all the time.”
“I go thrifting whenever I feel like it,” continued Brunn-Bryant. “If I have an inspiration for a look or a style then I’ll go thrifting and try to find it. I honestly think you can find anything in a thrift store. Also it’s an inexpensive and more fun way to get new clothes… I think at Lawrence a lot of people are into art and I think thrifting is art personally I feel that you can create something of your own by thrifting. You go with an image of what you want and you can merge some time periods together and create something of your own or you can completely change it to something else.”
The experience of traveling to a thrift store and coming back to campus with bags of clothing can also be a fun bonding experience to share with a fellow Lawrentian. Said Loiseau, “At Lawrence I feel that people are open to the idea [of shopping at thrift stores]…People are much more open to even donating clothes or even going together to find things for like cool theme parties. So I think it can be a fun activity to do with your friends.”
But with all the pros to shopping at thrift stores, are there any down sides? According to Loiseau, “Other than the smell — Not really. That’s probably the worst part of it.”
But the other side of it may involve an element of guilt. When asked about the down side of shopping at thrift stores, Brunn-Bryant commented, “I guess maybe the looks you get from some people because sometimes there are people at thrift stores that are there because they have to be and sometimes I feel here [at thrift stores] because it’s leisure to be saving money.”
In other words, while some Appletonians and Lawrentians shop at thrift stores because it is the only affordable option to purchase necessities, others may view the thrifitng extravaganza simply as an activity of leisure. With this arise some ethical concerns that Lawrentians should bear in mind.