ThriftCon criticism sparks discourse on the gentrification of thrifting

April 17th, 2021

Is thrifting the solution to fast fashion, or does it make shopping for clothes even more inaccessible to the working class?

The concept of thrifting has taken on a new life as the trends of today revolve around ‘Y2K fashion’ and capitalizing on nostalgia — turning thrifting into a privileged practice that defeats its purpose of providing for low-income communities.

While thrift shopping is of course a logical alternative in a clothing-saturated world, it has unfortunately also become a gentrified business for the upper class. One example is an emerging thrifting bazaar in the United States called ThriftCon.

 

Since 2019, ThriftCon has been a “premier vintage clothing and collectible sale” with events all across the United States. However, it recently went under fire online after a TikTok from an attendee began circulating.

Their prices range from steals with $1-10 racks, to mostly expensive items as they state “do not anticipate “thrift store” prices” on their website. However, you won’t be guaranteed a good selection unless you purchase an Early Entry ticket that costs $25. You also have to buy more tickets for different time slots if you wish to browse for longer. That would convert to approximately 2000 pesos.

Overpriced tickets on top of the fact that people are taking flights to attend ThriftCon, it seems like a pretty steep cost just to thrift.

The rise of influencers and reselling apps like Depop has definitely transformed the thrifting culture.

Social media personalities perpetuate the overconsumption of clothing — influencing people to believe that you need to keep refreshing your wardrobe. While middle to upper class youth are taking advantage of thrift store deals and reselling items at a higher price.

Twitter users have shared that prices at thrift stores have increased because of this gentrification.

Perhaps it’s time for consumers to recognize their privilege when purchasing secondhand.

Ask yourself, can I afford to pay for a similar item at a curated store rather than taking away from communities? Do I really need this much clothing just to dress like it’s the early 2000s again? Will these pieces last in my closet for years to come?

 

 

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