Vintage is back in style, and with over 50 thrift and consignment stores in the Springfield area, there are many hidden gems waiting to be found by shoppers.
Thrifting’s popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years, as stores meet the demand for retro trends. Prices in many thrift stores have risen as a result of the growing market for vintage clothing, but this isn’t stopping customers from shopping secondhand.
According to the ThredUp 2019 resale report, there are more secondhand shoppers now than ever before — 56 million women bought secondhand products in 2018, up from 44 million in 2017. The secondhand market is expected to continue to grow, reaching $51 billion in 5 years.
Secondhand shopping attracts all ages, but millennials, aged 25 to 37, and baby boomers aged 56 to 65, thrift the most, according to the resale report.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kristi Hillis goes thrifting at least four or five times a week and enjoys customizing houseware and clothing items.
“I look for clothing like 30 percent of the time, but I’m mostly out looking for home decor,” Hillis said.
Hillis said retail stores are overpriced and lower quality compared to thrift stores.
“I don’t like to buy new stuff when I can go out to thrift shops and find cheaper things that I can buy and redo myself,” she said.
Hillis shops around at many of the local thrift stores, but she said her favorites are Red Racks and Goodwill. As a frequent thrift shopper, she’s noticed the increase in prices at some thrift stores.
“Thrifting has gotten more popular through the years,” Hillis said. “I think this whole vintage comeback is definitely increasing the prices.”
Assistant store manager of Red Racks Samantha King said pricing of clothing is based on quality, condition and brand.
“Vintage items will be a little higher than our regular clothes on the red racks, just because the value of it is more expensive,” King said. “More people want these items, and they’re willing to pay more for them.”
King has been an assistant manager at Red Racks for five years and said college students and young people shop at the store frequently.
“I think young people are loving all the vintage stuff,” King said. “You can come here and get those one-of-a-kind items that you can’t find at Target or the mall.”
Red Racks opened a vintage section six months ago located at the front of the store, stocked with brand name clothing items.
King says the vintage section was created to attract younger customers and has been very successful.
“I think a lot of people think that just older people shop here, so creating a section for younger people to target them specifically was really necessary,” King said.
Hillis is a big fan of the vintage section and appreciates that Red Racks separates the brand name items from the rest of the clothes.
Hillis said she thinks the vintage section is appropriately priced for a company that’s trying to make money.
“Red racks donates to the Disabled American Veterans, so if they charge a little bit more for things I think it’s justified,” Hillis said.
According to Red Racks’ official website, “the proceeds from the sales of donated goods help our country’s Disabled American Veterans, providing assistance for transportation, medical needs, counseling, and much more.”
Annelise Pinjuv, freshman professional writing major, feels differently about the vintage section of Red Racks.
“I think the vintage section in Red Racks is kind of dumb,” Pinjuv said. “(Red Racks) separates the retro stuff, and it takes away the whole fun of thrifting which is digging through all the clothes yourself to find the cool pieces.”
Pinjuv said she thinks the clothes in the vintage section are overpriced, but she appreciates the discounts offered at Red Racks.
“A lot of thrift stores do holiday or weekend sales,” Pinjuv said. “Red Racks has a point system, which is awesome — you rack up points and get discounts.”
Red Racks offers students and teachers a 25 percent off discount on full-priced items on Wednesdays.