When I was in high school, I lived for vintage shopping. My favorite place was Wasteland (either in Berkeley or San Francisco depending on the day). I took great pride in wearing things that no one else was wearing and wearing them in a way that was distinctly my own. As I got older, and made more money, I moved further and further from second hand shopping. Until one day, I didn’t do it at all.
And that’s how it has been for the last several years. Where once I would have loved to hit a thrift store, now I have a similar experience with new clothes at the Rack. But Gen Z is reminding us all of the impact our consumption has on the planet. That means that thrifting has become cool. But you may or may not be up for that. I rediscovered the gems you can find while thrifting earlier this summer at Buffalo Exchange in Ballard. In fact, 60-70% of the dresses and jumpsuits I wore on my travels all summer were from that excursion. And, they were free. After all, I could sell pieces and have some credit to work with.
One challenge with thrift shopping is the need to dig through the racks. If you aren’t someone who enjoys the hunt, this is a major time suck with very little reward. Often, there’s the struggle to find the proper size or a current piece. For most of my clients, the idea of having a few hours to kill while perusing a thrift store just seems insane.
Enter the rental market.
Before we begin, let me clarify. Rental subscription services give you the freedom to curate your own collection and pay a regular monthly fee to do so. I see these as very different from Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. Those are subscription services that have employees selecting pieces for you based on a quick survey to identify your style archetype.
Back to clothing rental.