Thrift store bringing in a new wave of consumers


Gianluca Cuevas

A client looks through the assorted clothing for sale, at Vintage store located at 2727 N. Stanton St.

Erik Acosta, Staff Reporter

Thrifting, a developing and well-liked trend among today’s younger demographic, allows shoppers to get clothes at low prices that have either been handed down or viewed as vintage. Since UTEP students and locals have easier access to stores like Uptown Cheapskate and Vintage, a brand-new secondhand shop, this method of shopping has been drawing more college students to an area with a younger demographic.  

Yasmine Al-Harbi and Matthew Martinez, a married couple who have been in the business for five years are the owners of the new Vintage store located at 2727 N. Stanton St. They had recently moved to this more convenient location since it is near the store’s target market.  

“We wanted to go somewhere that was a little bit more lively and our speed,” Al-Harbi said. “We are in the university area which is one of our biggest demographics. So, it makes it easier for consumers to shop and visit us.”  

Becoming a mainstay in younger people’s closets, some say that thrifty customers are more mindful of their carbon impact and the effects of fast fashion.  

“Consumers are a lot more conscious of the environment and what they are wearing and their footprint on the planet,” Al-Harbi said. “A big thing right now is people are more aware of fast fashion and its textile ways that hurt us in every aspect that it can with the planet.”  

Air and water quality can be affected by fast fashion and related textile practices. Thus, the uniqueness of second-hand clothing and the fact that there’s something available for everyone without affecting the environment makes it so popular with younger people.  

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  • Business owners (Yasmine Al-Harbi and Mathew Martinez) who have been in business for five years open their brand-new store. Vintage by THRFT Store located 2727 N. Stanton.

  • A wide shot of the THRFT store showing racks of clothing offering brand name products.

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“People undermine thrifting and what you can find. It’s not just clothing but also tools and unique items that you won’t find anywhere else,” said UTEP student Isabella Valera. “Thrifting is about finding and being yourself and when you go thrifting instead of fast fashion you can find what is unique to you.”  

However, what makes thrifting so distinctive is the ability to acquire unique and priced vintage items to add to your collection. According to the Vintage owners, what costumers are looking for is a sense of individuality in their wardrobe, which is what makes it so popular among younger consumers.  

“Big thing with second-hand is uniqueness, there is something out there for everyone in the second-hand world,” Al-Harbi said. “A lot of people are seeking for more individuality right now and I think its second-hand and vintage fashion that kind of streamlined that idea of expressing individuality in fashion.”   

Shoppers who thrift are occasionally surprised by how affordable it can be and the reasonable prices offered by some thrift shops.  

“I have gone thrifting a couple of times and I think it’s nice because you can find a lot of cool unique things that are not expensive and affordable,” said UTEP student Megan Soto.  

The Vintage store is a colorful establishment with retro neon lights lining the walls. It was formerly near downtown, but since moving, it has noticed a noticeable rise in customer interaction and demographic.  

“We are seeing a wider demographic across the board, and I think early on in downtown our demographic was more the young adult,” Al-Harbi said. “And right now, we have been dealing with a lot more college students which have been our second biggest demographic, it’s something that we are not used to.”   

Finding parking in the downtown area and making an extra effort to go thrifting was both inconvenient, as Al-Habi recalled. But parking in the new location being more convenient, it has made things easier.  

“I think we are getting a demographic that we weren’t able to get our hands on before because of our placement in downtown,” Al-Habi said.   

Erik Acosta is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]