Haight Street is the kind of place you would expect to find only in San Francisco — it’s an interestingly compatible marriage of 60’s hippie, stoner culture and modern-day hipsterdom. In essence, it’s several blocks of thrift stores, vintage shops, and an assortment of other small boutiques, cafes, tattoo parlors, and restaurants.
I personally came for the thrift stores.
One of the topics I plan to delve into heavily on this platform is the fashion industry, specifically, Fast Fashion. I’ve seen conflicting estimates as to how high-ranking the industry is in terms of overall pollution, but the one thing which is for certain is it’s one of the largest industrial polluters. And, of course, let’s not forget about the countless human rights violations taking place throughout the manufacturing supply chain.
Obviously the most effective way to combat some of the effects of the Fast Fashion industry is to simply consume less. However, one of the other items we have in our toolbox is secondhand shopping. I plan on doing a few posts dedicated to thrift store shopping because I think it’s an important tenet of sustainable and ethical fashion. For today, however, I just want to talk about the three thrift stores I visited over on Haight Street: Crossroads Trading, Buffalo Exchange, and Wasteland.
Now these stores are by no means your local Goodwill or Salvation Army (though there was a Goodwill on Haight Street). As you can see from the picture above, they’re quite high-end in terms of the quality and brand names they tend to sell. I consider stores like these to be ideal destinations for those transitioning from buying clothing from Fast Fashion brands like Zara and H&M. In fact, I came across many Madewell, Top Shop, Zara, Urban Outfitters, and H&M pieces while browsing today usually in the price range of $15-$30.
I know these kinds of stores can sometimes feel like a ripoff given that you’re buying used clothing, but it’s only because Fast Fashion vastly prioritizes speed and efficiency over quality and safety that we’re able to get a shirt for five bucks. I’ll save all of that for another post but, honestly, given the ease by which you can find good quality clothing at these places, I’d say it’s definitely worth the price tag. I break down the cost of the items I purchased at the end of the post!
I’ve been to a few other Crossroads before, namely the one in Studio City and the one in San Jose, but this Crossroads was by far the best one. I was able to find many good pieces that really catered well to the simple, classic, effortless style I tend to gravitate towards.
I ended up purchasing three items which is absolutely crazy to me for multiple reasons. First, I simply never find clothes I like. I’m a very picky person and it’s almost impossible for me to find something that suits my tastes. Second, doing this at a thrift store can be even more difficult just because thrift stores never cater to a single aesthetic or style or trend so it can be a little trickier to find pieces you like. Third, I was able to find all of these pieces within the first ten minutes I was in the store!
So, in conclusion, if you have not been to a Crossroads yet, definitely check it out.
I’ll be quite honest, this store was the one I spent the least time in just because it was so crowded. Which is actually really good, yay for ethical fashion!
However, I did browse through a few sections and they had some really neat pieces. It was a little more expensive and eccentric than Crossroads but I can see myself coming back and grabbing a few things.
Wasteland was by far the “coolest” and most expensive of the three thrift stores. In fact, it had that very distinct Abercrombie & Fitch/Hollister scent to it when I first walked in. Thankfully though, you do not need to bring in your gas masks, people, as it is relatively subtle.
Technically, Wasteland is not a thrift store, but a “vintage shop”. You can find pieces in there easily going upwards of $200. That being said though, I did find a few really nice items that were reasonably priced at around $20 or so, so I can certainly see myself going back for pieces like that.
So, to break it down, I got three pieces totaling $53.37.
The brands were BDG (from Urban Outfitters), Tara, and American Rag. I found similar BDG shirts for around ~$50. While, I couldn’t find similar American Rag shirts, the price range for that brand looks like it’s anywhere from $150-$500+. As for Tara, I wasn’t able to find that exact brand anywhere online, but I did find one called Tara Jarmon which has very similar aesthetics to the shirt I purchased, so it might be it, and their prices range from $250-$400. So…overall, I’d say it was definitely a successful day.
I’m planning to do a Fall/Winter look book using either secondhand pieces I got at thrift stores or items from brands dedicated to ethical and sustainable fashion, so definitely be on the look out for that!