A thrift-list for both Vancouverites and non-Vancouverites alike
By CJ Sommerfeld, Staff Writer
Now, we usually attribute the term “single-use plastics” to picnic cutlery and grocery bags, but this term also extends to cheap Halloween costumes. This is just one of a plethora of reasons why thrifting is a great way to supplement pieces for an unrivaled Hallow’s Eve ensemble.
Let’s face it, this Hallow’s Eve is going to be exponentially different than the rest. And although it is a holiday, this spiky virus does not have the day off, so we should act accordingly. That does not mean dressing-up is out of the question, however. Whether you are going to lounge around the house with a six-pack singing along to the Rocky Horror Picture Show or FaceTime with pals, why not wear a costume?
Halloween costumes are fun but can also be harmful to our environment. Now, we usually attribute the term “single-use plastics” to picnic cutlery and grocery bags, but this term also extends to cheap Halloween costumes. This is just one of a plethora of reasons why thrifting is a great way to supplement pieces for an unrivaled Hallow’s Eve ensemble. Now we all know of Value Village as a great place to scour a costume, but where else is there? As a thrifting buff, I have assembled a list of my favourite spots; here she be!
The Rag Machine
Located via the alley accessible on the north-west corner of Main and Broadway, this shop confronts you with literal tubs of clothing, providing you with the best possible thrift scavenger hunt. While some items are hung on hangers, a majority of the items are in large tubs which line the walls. This spot requires a great deal of creativity and imagination as it is not curated in the least. Some of the items have pre-set prices, although a majority of its pieces are priced by weight. When you have completed your hunt you put your pile of clothing on a scale; at the price of $5.97 a pound, you will nearly never be paying an arm and a leg for great pieces. If this is your first stop on your costume-hunting escapade, it may also be your last because the Rag Machine carries everything from overalls, old graphic tees, fur, leather, hankies, shoes, and more more more!
Community Thrift and Vintage
Located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), Community’s curated vintage shops support at-risk persons through their work-training program which trains and employs those living in its neighbourhood. As well, 100 percent of their profits are donated to the PHS Community Services Society, which is a non-profit that provides housing, healthcare, and harm reduction services to those living in the DTES. Community has two shops, The Frock Shoppe and Community Thrift and Vintage. Within these stores, you will find local-made art (including some pretty stellar earrings and pottery), belts, bags, berets, vintage dresses, trousers, and so much more—gender binary clothing has been dispersed between the two. While these prices are a bit steeper than those in the Rag Machine, you are hitting three birds with one stone: decreasing your carbon footprint, buying one-off pieces, and best of all you are donating to a community of some of the most needy people in our city. As well, in present COVID times, they now offer free shipping when purchasing pieces from their online catalogue!
Unlike the other two, Depop operates on an online platform. This means instant accessibility to global thrift and vintage; dangerous, I know. The online shop provides people a space to create their own vintage markets where each seller chooses their marketing style, prices, and items. You can type any keyword into the search bar: 2000s glam, modern thrift, dagger collar, patchwork, polyester—whatever floats your boat in that moment. The platform is also great because you too can create your own vintage empire via the app to earn a bit of side-cash. Depop has capitalized on this generation’s view of making a name for oneself and veering from working the classic 9 to 5 that saturated many of our parents’ lives. Depop is a great spot to purchase thrifted items that you may have otherwise not seen in your city. Purchasing pieces from this app is a sure-fire way to have the most original costume of them all! Aside from the exciting nature of thrifting, it is great to re-wear items from your Halloween costume after the day, both for environmental and financial costs. The holiday is just around the corner, so why not start costume hunting now?