Thrift stores: prices going up, quality going down


Addison Locke

Customers shopping at the Goodwill Superstore on SE 6th.

With thrifting and second hand shopping becoming mainstream, a lot has changed. Prices have significantly gone up at thrift stores in Portland. This has made a once affordable and sustainable way to obtain clothes more difficult for people. 

“It’s stupid. Thrift stores are supposed to be for people who cannot afford high end or brand new clothing. Thrift stores like Goodwill going up [in price] are absolutely terrible,” said junior Maia Sowders. “I’ve stopped going to standard thrift stores. Instead I go to the [Goodwill] bins to get clothes because it’s too expensive otherwise.” 

Junior Ivy Gomez thrifts to help support small businesses and charity shops with the hope that thrifting can keep clothes out of landfills. 

“Personally, I am privileged enough to be able to continue thrifting despite an increase of price. One of the big reasons I thrift is to be more environmentally conscious. I don’t like to buy new clothing. Clothes can last decades if treated well,” said Gomez.

Buying second hand is sometimes even more expensive than buying new clothes. Junior Jesper Lesher has found that the price of thrifted clothes can be higher than retail value. 

“A lot of the time when you’re thrifting, you’re finding pieces that are worn in and used. If I go to a secondhand store and I’m looking around and see a pair of vintage Carhartt pants that are $60 and very worn in and I look at the website and Carhartt is selling brand new pants for $50, that really turns me away,” said Lesher. “Just because something is considered vintage, doesn’t mean it should be more expensive.”

Gomez has also observed an increase in fast fashion brands at secondhand shops due to quick changes in fashion trends. Fast fashion is the mass production of clothes for a low cost and are normally dupes for high fashion items, which can be very expensive. 

“The amount of well-made clothes in thrift stores has definitely changed. There is an increasing amount of fast fashion stocking up second hand stores. There’s so much Shein, Zara, Target brands and many other fast fashion brands because people just mass purchase due to the low price and trendiness,” said Gomez. “When they are out of the trend cycle, they end up clogging the thrift stores with poor quality items. Especially if you are someone thrifting because you need seasonal, long lasting clothes for a cheaper price.”