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What I discovered at L-Train Vintage while thrifting...

Written by FFB C Insider JC


A month ago, I went into L-Train Vintage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I wouldn't consider myself an avid shopper much less an avid thrift shopper, however I was very intrigued by what I would find on my first thrift shopping experience in New York City, being that thrift shopping is the new trend that young adults and teens have jumped on. Side note, I have technically been thrift shopping in Manhattan but in my opinion once started to see three and four figures on the price tag, that action was no longer considered thrift shopping in my mind but more akin to just spending all my money on a single item. Anyways, myself and four of my college friends set out to the thrift shop at L-Train and to my surprise there were many young adults and teens all over the store. Even more surprising was how large the selection was. I ended up picking up two items, a baseball jersey and a sweater and I would have gotten more if I didn't need that money for the Popeyes I was planning to eat later.

The four friends that I went with were all experienced thrift shoppers, so I decided to ask them what they enjoyed about it. One of them just simply said, “I need the drip.” Simply words to live by right there. Others cited it being fun and cheap. This highlights a main distinction from thrift shopping and shopping at higher end retail stores. Everything is affordable; therefore, you are likely to look at or go through everything. This makes the experience more fun as you don`t have to immediately check the price on an item and then rule it out because you don't want to see your bank account decrease by that much. Another recurring theme is the sustainability of the items thrifted. There seems to be an environmental outlook that is associated with thrift shopping that I had never thought of before. One of my friends explained that he thrift shops because it reduces the need for new resources to be made to make clothes by reducing the demand for them and therefore will lead to less pollution in the long run. Considering the predictions about climate change and the number of natural disasters we have been facing, this is a very progressive and environmentally friendly stance to take. However, another one of my friends clarified that he meant it was more sustainable for his bank account.

There was a common theme throughout all of my friends that enjoyed thrift shopping that I didn't expect, however. Most people like cheap things so that being a motivation for someone to go thrift should be no surprise. Some people are concerned about the state that the earth is in so it makes sense that some people would be drawn in by the environmental friendliness that thrifting presents. However, what I didn't expect to hear was anyone say thrifting was “cool.” Now, this isn't from a place of me looking down upon people that thrift. To be honest, I would not describe any type of shopping as “cool.” On a personal level, I mostly shop out of necessity. For example, at college I mostly wore the same three pairs of pants so one day I came to the brilliant discovery that I should probably get some more pants. There was nothing “cool” about that action. I needed something so I went out and bought some nice pants that were affordable. I was more satisfied that I don't have to keep wearing the same pants than I was excited about the new purchase. My friends expressed different sentiments. I didn't truly understand what they were saying until I watched the recently released Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode with Kanye West with these same friends. Less than 5 minutes in I hear one of my friends say, “I like Kanye's hoodie.” The hoodie in discussion was the plainest hoodie I have seen in a while from what my eyes could see. It was purple with nothing on it. There was no design on it, no zippers on the side, no flamingo feathers strapped to it. Nothing. It was just purple. This is when it is all clicked. Kanye is the same man that convinced thousands of people to pay hundred, thousands of dollars on colored shirts with random holes in them. It is trendy right now to simply wear things that look like they were thrifted. Therefore, if you are a somewhat fashionable person that is looking to shop on a budget, if the styles right now are just overpriced versions of things that are already in thrift shops, you might as well go to the thrift shop itself. I`ll put it to you this way, I saw that same purple hoodie in the thrift shop I went to and they even have it in blue.

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