One Man’s Trash

Photo By Zameena Mejia

Rapper Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” has brought attention to “thrifting,” an increasingly common trend among college students who shop at thrift stores for conveniently-priced clothing, and in turn has become many college students’ anthem song. SUNY New Paltz’s Think Thrift club is just the place for the students to share their love for thrifting.

“From the moment that song became popular, I might have had it posted on my Facebook wall about 15 to 20 times,” Natalie Skoblow, founder of SUNY New Paltz’s Think Thrift club, said.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, Think Thrift hosted “Stop & Swap,” the club’s first meeting of the semester and its fifth successful clothing swap. Twenty-three students attended and swapped shirts, shoes and jewelry among other clothing and accessories.

Skoblow, a second-year public relations major, has been thrifting for a couple years now, but got the idea to start Think Thrift after a summer filled with thrift shop trips to New York City.

“I started going to [Buffalo Exchange thrift store] every month or so with a giant trash bag full of clothes and I would get all this money back. It became this thrill to me that I can recycle my clothes,” Skoblow said. “I found so many people interested in where I got my stuff that I figured why not make a club out of it?”

In its second semester, the club has attracted a small following of students interested in saving money and do-it-yourself projects to add a new flair to the pieces of clothing already in their closets.

Located within a 20-minute walk from the local Salvation Army, Think Thrift often does Wednesday “Salvo” trips when most of the store’s items are sold at further reduced prices.

“I started thrifting because I didn’t have much money and I refused to spend a lot of money on clothing,” Skoblow said. “Why spend $20 on a shirt when you can get it for $5?”

Co-Vice Presidents of Think Thrift John Owens and Casey Richards have worked to find new ways to appeal to different crowds. Owens, a first-year art major, has given extra thought about how to get more guys to come out to Think Thrift’s events.

“This generation is in the process of redefining masculinity and guys are particular about their clothes and I’m usually the only guy at the clothing swaps, but I’m putting it out there: I do have stuff I want to trade,” Owens said.

Richards, a second-year vocal jazz major, said that Think Thrift isn’t just about trading clothing, but also about bringing awareness to recycling and reusing things people already have.

“You’re exchanging things within a community, you establish a sort of self-sustainability, and many thrift stores give back to the community as well,” Richards said.

While most classmates in high school shopped at malls and department stores, Owens said she felt strained and stressed over buying clothes until his bandmates took him to a Goodwill thrift store and showed him a different way to live.

“The best part about thrifting is that you aren’t told what to buy, you just shop for the stuff you like,” Owens said. “There’s less to worry about and more to be proud about. All my hippie friends saved my life.”

Skoblow pointed out that most college students are in the same “financial boat” and could use the extra cash in their pockets.

“We’re lucky to go to a ‘green’ school with a funky artsy hipster vibe where it’s okay to wear whatever you want,” Skoblow said. “Think Thrift is for everyone and will keep breaking through thrifting stereotypes to share the thrill of thrifting.”