Thrift shop chic here to stay

“I wear your granddad’s clothes / I look incredible!”

Seattle rapper Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis have brought a full-fledged revival to thrift stores and secondhand shops with their hit “Thrift Shop."

With over 173 million YouTube views since the video was first posted online in 2012, it’s safe to say that “Thrift Shop” is more than just a one-hit wonder. Not only is it commercial, but the fact that Macklemore is an independent artist reflects the humble nature of his fabled secondhand shop.

Macklemore has successfully brought a youthful jolt to a normally drab façade of the thrift store down the block.

The allure of thrift shops is wrapped up in mystery. You never know what kind of unexpected treasures you’ll find in the aisles of Goodwill. Thrift shops have so much potential for uniqueness and creativity, as well as customization.

I’ve found some garments that were perfect for me, crazy styles and all. Vintage hunters can find amazing historic items, garments and trinkets to document the crazy world we live in.

Plus, there is a hilarious novelty of some thrift store finds. Polaroid cameras, end tables and denim jackets are all still useful (well, maybe not the Polaroid), but the outrageous fur coats, smelly shoes and granddad-esque La-Z-Boy’s are just as abundant.

Last but not least, college students flock to thrift stores in an attempt to pinch pennies in this new time of independence. Who cares if the plates in your kitchen match, right?

Some folks, however, are a bit more comfortable knowing that the products they buy are new and fashion-forward.

Understandably — you wouldn’t catch me buying a mattress from a secondhand store. I’ll pass, thanks.

In my experience, working in retail has been a gateway to fashion-forward trends and looks. I get first access to brand new items that help people feel more confident about their appearance. I enjoy having the opportunity to work in an environment where creativity is valued, and it’s neat to represent a unified brand.

The customers I work with are of all ages, but shopping malls are typically filled with young people. It’s part of popular culture to associate malls and shopping centers with young people; just watch "Clueless," duh!

However, with declining retail sales, we must question the causes of this downturn. Can we blame the recession for the sudden disinterest, or is it because of the attitude of ingenuity that lies both in the American pathos and secondhand stores?

Macklemore shines light on the potential that each of these items has to become a personal talisman.

Much like a discarded bunch of fake flowers in the home goods section, maybe all we need is a little dusting off. Don’t let the tweed blazers and '80s velvet couches fool you: Thrift stores are here to stay.


Reach the columnist at aamentze@asu.edu or follow her at @soupsnake


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