No question: thrift, vintage, and resale fashion is on the rise. There are a host of influencers pushing this fashion forward, including ‘fast fashion’ which introduces fashion monthly rather than seasonally; the style of Marc Jacobs -- presently the world’s most popular designer -- which draws upon and celebrates the fashion of yesteryear with a funky modern twist; the fragile realities of our planet and the need to renew and repurpose rather than refuse; the delicate state of the world economy; and equally related, the popularity of hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit song “Thrift Shop”. Add to these cultural and economic nudges the simple fact that it’s fun and there really is no stopping this rising trend.
According to The Association of Resale Professionals, “Resale shopping attracts consumers from all economic levels. There is no typical resale shopper, just as there is no typical resale shop. No one is immune to the excitement of finding a treasure and saving money.”
According to America’s Research Group, a consumer research firm, approximately 18% of Americans will shop at a thrift store annually. As for resale shops, the number is approximately 15%. To get a sense of what that means, the average American shopper visits factory outlet malls 11.4% annually, 19.6% for apparel stores and 21.3% for major department stores.
We are then not surprised to see that Hollywood’s ‘stylist-to-the-stars’ Rachel Zoe has just this year launched a reality show called Resale Royalty, all about the resale and vintage fashion business. Also, just this year, Atlanta has held it’s first ever Thrift Fashion Week.
Not to be outdone, Chicago has long since been in the game of cultivating the vintage/resale fashion scene. There are a significant number of vintage and resale boutiques scattered about the city. Among them is Chicago’s vintage and resale duo Christin Fasuga and Carmen Riehm. The two -- best friends and mother and daughter -- launched their vintage and resale business -- Savvy Seconds and 1sts -- 10 years ago.
According to the pair, “having both been avid thrift store/resale boutique shoppers our whole lives, we knew what the industry lacked. We wanted to provide hand-picked, quality finds that resale boutiques gathered, and place them at thrift store prices without the hassle of spending all day sifting through donations. So we did just that.”
The store, located in Lincoln Square, tries “to focus simply on women's fashion forward trends.” According to Fasuga, as the store and interest grew, “I started accumulating higher quality, designer brands such as Marc Jacobs, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Diane Von Furstenburg, Anthropologie and some unique vintage pieces at a much faster rate. I, however, am not a label snob and still will not turn my cheek on other funky, statement making, no name pieces. I believe style doesn't necessarily need to have a name on it.”
The challenge of knowing what works and how to best pair the vintage finds with modern, trendy pieces is a discussion that fills many style blog pages. However, that issue is comfortably managed as Fasuga is also a stylist and assists her clients with all of their styling needs. “A favorite thing of mine to do is mix fashion from various genres and decades. Every day is a new day, a new mood and I express myself through fashion as a correlation to that.”
As Chicago’s Fashion Week fast approaches, we will be treated to some styling lessons and a peak at vintage on the runway as Savvy Seconds and 1sts will host a runway event at Chicago’s Fashion Forward event. Says Fasuga, “if it’s fabulous and unique, you will find it in my collection.”