As we emerge from England’s second national lockdown, the LSE’s fashion society thrifting trip seems a distant memory. With a month of shop closures, Black Friday deals and December’s cold weather, sifting through the hidden gems on the streets of Notting Hill and Shoreditch becomes less and less appealing. However, with many online alternatives to thrifting in person thrifting is not such an impossibility in these unprecedented times, meaning not only could you bag yourself a bargain, but you could also do this with a clean conscience. It might not be the same as riffling through the denim racks of Camden Market and finding the perfect pair of vintage Levi’s, but it preserves some of the excitement of holding a completely unique item with its own history that all shopping fiends live for. So, before hastily clicking ‘express delivery’ on your growing ASOS basket, read the tips below to find out how to thrift during a pandemic.
Tip 1- resale sites are your best friend-
With unparalleled growth of resale sites over the past few years, it unlikely comes as news that sites such as, Depop and Vestiaire Collective provide an endless collection of pre-owned pieces. However, these are by no means your only options and there are actually a wealth of options, which is increasingly unsurprising considering that it was the goal of nine out of ten retail executives to break into the resale market by 2020. One might look to ThreadUp, the self-proclaimed, “largest online consignment and thrift store”, stocking 35,000 brands, from Gap to Gucci. This is not the only service they offer, as they encourage customers to invest more time into their shopping experience, offering an ideas board, to allow one to begin to curate an online wardrobe as they pair items sold on their platform to this vision board. For any shopaholics out there, by no means is ThreadUp discouraging consumption, it is simply suggesting that we do so more thoughtfully as, if their CEO and co-founder, James Reinhart is correct and that we are in fact, “buying twice as much clothes and wearing them half as long”, we may as well do so in a circular fashion. Meanwhile, for those specifically looking for high ticket items this festive season, Vestiaire Collective is a one-stop shop. With authentication at the core of their appeal, you can shop in peace, making it far easier to invest in a vintage designer bag, where their selection and price is unparalleled by any other luxury resale site.
Tip 2- it might take some work-
Despite the growth of resale vendors, in the past few years, and the increasing ease at which their sites can be accessed and navigated, with the messaging platform on Depop or bidding function on Vestiaire Collective allowing you to haggle for the best price, it is not always easy to curate a second hand wardrobe, making fast-fashion all the more appealing. However, if you are willing to invest just a fraction more of the time you will find that you can create a far more meaningful. It is unrealistic to expect this to be done overnight, but isn’t that the fun of curating a wardrobe- collecting pieces with global histories that, upon adoption, become the pieces that come to represent your personal style? Regardless, if you want to minimise this effort, it is worth noting that online thrifting can be very different to online shopping, with the limited quantities, and to avoid the disappointment of viewing your Depop basket after a good nights sleep to find that everything has already sold it is best to buy fast!
Tip 3- Don’t panic, sometimes things don’t go to plan-
We all know that feeling of disappointment of finally receiving an online order to find that it either doesn’t fit, look as it did online, or simply isn’t your style. This can frighten many away from shopping on resale sites, as it is often hard to return these items. However, this does not mean you have to throw these pieces to the back of your wardrobe and abandon online thrifting. More often than not, with a few alterations and a trip to the tailor, you can find yourself with a piece that is genuinely personalised to you and becomes a staple in your wardrobe. If this still doesn’t reassure you, re-selling your items is always an option and with an every growing customer base these good are sure to shift fast, as the Wall Street Journal reminds us that, “Even Kim Kardashian West wears vintage designer duds”. Even still, if you want a truly hassle free shopping experience there are a growing number of resale sites that accept returns, such as Beyond Retro Vintage Clothing, so perhaps the experience of online thrifting and online shopping is not so dissimilar after all.