Do You Even Thrift?


Buffalo Exchange

Buffalo Exchange is a thrift store with locations in Pacific Beach and Hillcrest that has a variety between on-trend and vintage clothing.

With climate change becoming a more and more pressing issue every day, it can be difficult to see the bright side of things. One Instagram post leads to another, and soon enough you may feel consumed by an endless feed of depressing facts. According to a study by The Eco Experts, the fashion industry is the third most polluting industry in the world. Unlike the other seven on the list, which include food waste and transportation, fast fashion thrives on individual choices to purchase items from certain mainstream brands. Many of those contributing to fast fashion are doing so because they enjoy shopping, and they don’t truly realize the negative impact they may have. However, there are a world of alternatives available for you to continue shopping for fun without harming the environment. Shopping sustainably can be easy, not a burden.

Many teens, such as Bela Gowda (‘24), spend a lot of time shopping online. “It’s much more accessible,” she said. If in-person thrift stores feel daunting, Bela recommends getting into thrift shopping by starting online, as she did recently. “That way you can see everything at once, and you don’t have to physically sort through all the clothes,” she explained. “On most platforms, you can enter all of your preferences to help narrow down your search results.”

ThredUP is an online consignment and thrift store that strives to solve the fashion waste crisis by modernizing thrifting. “It’s about shopping with intention, rejecting throwaway fashion culture, and standing for sustainability,” states ThredUP’s website under the About page. They are especially famous for their Goody Box, where buyers can take a style quiz and pay $10 for a package of ten custom-picked items. Then, they can choose which items to purchase and which to send back.

Bela recently got ThredUP’s style box, and ended up keeping multiple things. “My experience with ThredUP was great. I was really surprised by how affordable everything was,” she said. She also recommends Curtsy, an online thrift store that less people tend to know about. It’s a platform where anyone can post a listing, negotiate with buyers, and sell their used clothing. “I like knowing that I’m buying from people around my age, since I understand that it’s nice to make your own money,” said Bela.

Depop is another popular online thrift store where anyone can easily sell clothes they no longer need. It is infamous for being overpriced, particularly with items from Brandy Melville that are absurdly marked up despite still being up on the store’s official website. However, with the right strategies, you can find some great pieces on Depop. It’s all about refining your search, like Bela advised. Whether you find it more helpful to enter your sizes or to look for specific items rather than general searches, find a system that works for you. 

Then, once you find fairly priced items that you like, take a look at the rest of the listings on those accounts. Don’t be afraid to message sellers with any questions you may have—people just want to get their clothes sold, and are likely to negotiate a price rather than not sell an item at all.

As for in-person shopping, I have found the most luck at Buffalo Exchange, a national thrift store chain that has locations in Pacific Beach and Hillcrest. Since they pick and choose items to buy from people, rather than accepting all donations, the selection is guaranteed to be on-trend. This does mean that prices are not as low as a more standard thrift store such as Goodwill, where t-shirts can cost only $3. However, there is still a sizable discount on each item compared to its original retail price. 

“I especially like Buffalo Exchange, since they have a variety between new and vintage things,” said Mikayla Crowe (‘24). “I got a Gucci bucket hat there one time, and ever since then, it’s been my lucky thrift shop.” Mikayla’s best thrifting advice is to look through everything. “Even if you’re a girl, look through the men’s section,” she elaborated, adding, “and vice-versa.”