At a flea industry in West Philadelphia, Anya Miller picked out a white classic crew neck tee with “Lancaster County” on the front. “What are the probabilities that I would find this piece in this article?” claims Miller who grew up in Lancaster County. “I dress in it all the time. I like it.”

Miller also has excellent luck finding trousers secondhand — but she mainly thrifts for entertaining, with pals. Thrifting is a pastime. It’s sustainable. But as a university university student researching sociology, she wondered if thrifting for entertaining harm these who depend on discount rates.

She turned this into her thesis at College of Pennsylvania, in which she’ll graduate in May possibly. Interviews with dozens of buyers and retail outlet team confirmed some of her assumptions and remaining a lot of place for far more analysis.

Miller grew up in Manheim Township and Warwick Township, where by mom and dad Tyrone and Debra, still are living. She was part of the Linden Corridor basketball workforce that achieved condition playoffs, graduating in 2019. She invested a great part of her college career learning online throughout a pandemic.

In her aim to make a variation and assistance marginalized groups, Miller sees analysis as a highly effective tool to elevate consciousness about challenges. She acquired about sustainability even though interning at textile nonprofit Hecho por Nosotros in a analyze overseas plan in Buenos Aires.

By the time lessons returned to in-man or woman, she put together these passions into a research of Philadelphia’s secondhand retailers.

Ahead of she sets her sights on acquiring a position in govt or the nonprofit world, Miller shared more about her analysis and how to be a superior thrifter, beyond getting the finest bargains. This discussion has been edited for clarity and length.

Could you explain your thesis?

Generally, the dilemma that I was wanting to respond to was how does socioeconomic standing notify and effect secondhand procuring encounters. I utilized two techniques: interviews with buyers and thrift keep homeowners, professionals and employees who can present the more substantial photograph and extensive-term knowing.

Why did you want to examine this topic?

Currently being a member of Gen Z, I have found a whole lot on TikTok, on YouTube, this rise in thrifting, individuals submitting thrift hauls. I do appreciate thrifting, but I can see from a length the implications of thrifting on lower-income individuals. I required to analyze that, typically to make sure that thrift suppliers are however serving the populace that they were being made to serve and also as a consciousness-increasing tool, encouraging conscious use, building sure, for illustration if you can manage to purchase shoes and coats elsewhere, then you need to do so. These goods have a tendency to be a lot more high priced somewhere else.

How substantially of a thrifter are you?

I go most likely when each two months. There’s a flea market close by I go there each weekend. Most of the time, I really don’t basically invest in everything. I enjoy the experience of it. But I’m also, especially from this undertaking, mindful of my individual intake. I’m not in a put now where by I definitely will need to be buying more.

What are some of the most crucial takeaways from your thesis?

The very first 1 is the most vital and form of obvious. But it was good to set it into words, put it into figures. I created a pyramid that exhibits how socioeconomic status differs with thrifting motives. For case in point, low-income people, they normally claimed thrifting out of necessity. As you go up the socioeconomic pyramid, men and women thrift for behavior. They grew up thrifting. Previously mentioned that are individuals who thrift for leisure, a hobby or they want exceptional finds. At the major of this pyramid were persons who thrifted as a form of virtue or advantage-signaling. They ended up there for sustainability or they are anti-consumerist, and this mode of usage most aligned with their values.

The other a person was thrifting is getting to be a gentrified place. Think of the designer, vintage shops with better price tag points. A great deal of that came from the discussions with store management, how they’ve viewed a lower in their Black client foundation although seeing far more white, young, more rich buyers. Shoppers documented they’ve seen rises in costs over time.

You asked in your study if the rise in thrifting is accomplishing far more damage or great in Philadelphia. Did you find an reply?

I consider that any time that folks are thrifting in a acutely aware way, conscious of their socioeconomic position, mindful of what they’re truly consuming, conscious of if they require to be consuming or not, thrifting is great. Looking at this gentrification of thrifting is concerning in particular if it carries on and lower-profits populations are remaining displaced from their stores. So, right now, it’s carrying out more excellent than damage.

Additional investigate would need to have to be carried out to inform whether or not or not this is really impacting what they’re able to acquire and the availability of products and solutions in shops.

Are there any positive aspects to thrifting getting fashionable?

The trendiness of it has reduced the stigma of it, irrespective of social course.

As a ton of individuals are consuming at thrift outlets, they’re also donating to thrift shops, which is excellent.

It also retains garments out of landfills. Irrespective of who is executing the consuming from a thrift retail store, it is nevertheless far more environmentally friendly than it would be to store at H&M, Eternally 21, these quickly vogue providers that are placing out 52 seasons a 12 months.

It does turn into type of its individual use loop, due to the fact persons truly feel much better about thrifting so they thrift extra.

What do you believe about curated shops wherever persons acquire thrifted things and mark up the costs?

This reseller business is kind of exploding proper now. I think, in basic, it goes in opposition to the spirit of what thrifting is for: creating things accessible, serving to the environment. That staying explained, I really don’t necessarily see, like, these tremendous highly-priced boutique thrift suppliers to be in levels of competition with the Goodwill, simply because the concentrate on audiences are totally different.

Who’s allowed to shop at secondhand merchants?

Going again to coats, matters that are necessities and costly at the retail price should really be reserved for small-revenue men and women, with shoppers acutely aware of what they’re consuming, what’s their cash flow and no matter whether or not they should be obtaining these items.

Factors like T-shirts, it relies upon on the retail outlet. A retailer that I go into constantly has a surplus of T-shirts and athleisure. Which is additional reasonable game. Again, be acutely aware if you need to be consuming at all.

Also, business enterprise clothes in general, fits are pricey at retail. Be conscious about do the job clothing.

Are there any other strategies you have for considerate secondhand consumption?

Be aware about the issues you’re buying and if you need to have to be getting. When wealthier people enter thrift suppliers, be respectful of that place. Know what it was produced for, it was not supposed for them.

Are you going to go on your research?

Immediately after writing 45 webpages, I require a break. But I am tremendous fascinated in this exploration.

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