Mom jeans and Reeboks and windbreakers, oh my! Whether students are looking for used, cheap high-top Converse or rare band T-shirts from the '90s, there are many thrift stores near ASU's campuses where students can explore racks of used clothing.
According to the Association of Retail Professionals, there are more than 25,000 resale and non-profit resale shops in the United States. First Research, a business research firm, estimates that the resale industry in the United States has annual revenue of around $17 billion, including revenue from antique stores, which makes up 13 percent of the annual total.
Thrift culture is prominent on ASU’s campus and students have many opportunities to thrift from both websites and brick-and-mortar stores.
Students have the option to check out secondhand stores such as Buffalo Exchange on University and Goodwill on North Scottsdale Road. These stores are within 2 miles from campus.
If students want a more genuine thrifting experience, they can visit The Salvation Army on South Myrtle Avenue or lesser known shops like Gracie’s Thrift Store on East Apache Boulevard.
Dennita Sewell, a professor of practice for ASU’s new fashion program, is very familiar with thrift culture and has been exploring the shelves of thrift stores for many years.
Sewell said that she loves the individualism of buying thrifted clothing and modifying the gear to make the clothing distinct.
“I think (thrifting is) a really fabulous way to learn about clothes,” Sewell said. “You get to go in and evaluate the clothes, and you could even modify them in some way to make it unique.”
Sewell said she believes buying secondhand clothing is a sustainable way of dressing because the clothes are reused.
“(Thrifting is) inexpensive, I did it myself when I was an undergrad,” Sewell said. “When you are interested in clothes it’s a fun way to find interesting and unique pieces that are not very expensive. I used to look for well-made items, and I felt like I could find better-made, cheaper items in thrift stores.”
Rolling Fits ThriftStore is a relatively new concept created by ASU computer science freshman Noah Glynn and aspiring fashion designer Joey Murga. Murga said the two of them are “always thriftin'."
They created the idea of Rolling Fits about 2 months ago and have sold secondhand finds at Secretfest, a free event put on by ASU club AMP, which showcased student art and local musicians, and another show that featured artists such as ASU rapper Cameron Krafft, also known as Young Nut.
The duo market their clothes on Snapchat and sell them on online retailer Depop.
Read more: AMP enters the campus scene
Murga said he loves thrifted garments in comparison to new clothes due to the unknown history of the items.
“If you find an old shirt — who knows who wore that?” Murga said. “All I know is that it's cool and nobody else has it and nobody else can get what you have on. That's why thrifting is awesome. The chances of people having the shirts you get are slim to none.”
Murga and Glynn said they have about a hundred pieces of clothing sitting around. They pick out specific items that they think people will like, sometimes from their personal collection.
“Most people shop at Forever 21 and H&M because that's what they can afford,” Glynn said. “I know that's what I can afford, but when I go thrifting I can get a Tommy (Hilfiger) jacket that is really nice quality for cheap. You can't get that at H&M. A lot of people go to the store and buy fast fashion that doesn't have a lot of culture and meaning. Thrifting has a lot of meaning.”
Glynn said that he's met a lot of interesting people while selling secondhand gear on campus, and that he would not have been able to bond with these individuals if he never went out and sold clothes.
Murga takes items from secondhand clothing shops and customizes the pieces under his self-titled brand. He said that customizing clothes with different patches and stiches is like putting together different “pieces of a puzzle”.
Murga and Glynn suggest ASU students thrift at stores like Wang’s Closet on North Scottsdale Road and other stores that have mom-and-pop vibes.
“I have found some cool items at these small, more unknown thrift shops and there can be a lot of cool name brand items there too.”
There are a lot of students looking for the rare gems at thrift stores like Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange, so exploring Tempe and Phoenix for smaller secondhand stores might be a good way to spend an afternoon and pick up some solid thrifted items.