One of my favorite pastimes, since school has started, has been going to the thrift store. Fortunately for me, the Hope of the Valley Thrift Store is located within walking distance from my school. Since the beginning of my sophomore year, I have visited Hope of the Valley everyday after school. From wedding dresses to winter sweaters, and unique vintage pieces to old school tees, thrift stores are places to find unique products. Not only do thrift stores sell clothing, but they also are an important part of the community. The additional supplies that thrift stores provide, like soap, water, hand sanitizer, and other personal hygiene products, are incredibly important to many people, especially during the pandemic. Not only do many thrift stores act as charity organizations to provide for low income and homeless people, they also lower the amount of clothing in landfills, encourage sustainable shopping, and promote unique styles through creative expression.
The unique clothing options that I find at thrift stores is what has always drawn me to these types of stores. Not only are prices affordable (especially for a high school student), but also, second hand shops let me be more creative with my clothing. Looking through a thrift store is a whole experience for me because I get to imagine the types of people that wore the different clothes on the various racks. Each clothing article tells a unique story about that person’s life, such as the events they wore that item to, what life was like in the time period the clothing item is from, and what significance the piece played in that person’s life.
Vintage pieces and clothing items from brands that no longer exist are my favorite things to thrift. Even if I don’t end up buying a piece, if the name on the tag is of a brand I don’t recognize, I always make sure to look it up to learn more about it. One such designer that I discovered was Willi Smith. I found a really cool pair of his pinstriped trousers at the thrift store and when I looked him up I found a boatload of information on a designer that I never would have learned otherwise.
Thrifting is not only an amazing way to shop sustainably, and care for the environment, it is also a way to branch out to new styles of clothing. Each clothing item, piece of furniture, artwork, and ceramic at a thrift store has a unique story. I would highly encourage people to go visit their local thrift store and explore for themselves.
Claudia Shin, Granada Hills Charter High School