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ThredUp/And Just Like That Costume Designers' partnership shows how far secondhand clothes have come

By Jackie Mallon

16 Dec 2021

Fashion

ThredUP

Last week saw the release of And Just Like That, a reboot of HBO’s comedy series, Sex and the City, which ran for six seasons from 1998 to 2004, won four Emmy awards and spawned two movies. Today sees the launch of a special shopping partnership between the costume designers of And Just Like That, Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, and ThredUP, the online resale platform which provided much of the new show’s wardrobe.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the partnership, which presents three online storefronts full of hundreds of thrifted styles including items straight from the show, is that it demonstrates how far pre-worn clothes have come in the twenty some years since the original show’s heyday. Back then, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha––who does not appear in the revival––were in their 30s and 40s and their New York City lives revolved around runway labels, exclusive restaurant reservations and the hottest after parties.

The evolution of style icon Carrie Bradshaw

The legendary stylist Patrica Field styled the looks which rubber-stamped some of the show’s most memorable moments particularly for the main character, Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker. There was Carrie fishing cigarettes out of her Dior Saddle bag after browsing in Barney’s; maxing out her credit card in Dolce & Gabbana; shoe shopping at Manolo Blahnik; slipping into acres of smoke-hued Atelier Versace tulle for date night in Paris; sheathed in John Galliano for Christian Dior newsprint dress to apologize to another woman for stealing her husband; tottering into the maternity ward to visit her pregnant friend in rose-colored Christian Louboutin sandals; and freshly unboxing fuchsia Oscar de la Renta for an evening at the Met. Yes, Field also selected significant vintage pieces to create Carrie’s clashing high/low, uptown meets downtown quirky look, but newness was the driving force behind Sex and the City‘s success. Vintage was integrated into the designer wardrobe, and indie labels, Chinatown namesake necklaces or luxury purses, could became overnight sensations when Carrie sported them. Sex and the City represented aspirational living at its pre-recession peak.

But the fashion world of the 1990s and early 2000s was an exclusive world with little to no diversity, barely any online shopping, no social media. “When I first started styling over 20 years ago, our only thrifting option was to scour the crowded racks of NYC consignment shops,” said Molly Rogers, who began her career with Patricia Field. “It’s amazing to see how resale platforms like ThredUP have made it that much easier to source secondhand styles.”

ThredUP

What’s old is new in ThredUP And Just Like That partnership

Each ThredUP closet displays three distinct styles to shop which understandably leads to the assumption that each one represents a character from the show. The Statement Maker offers the opportunity to create unexpected looks that somehow work with secondhand brands such as Nanushka, Alice + Olivia, and Manolo Blahnik—inevitably consumers will assume this reflect’s Carrie’s aesthetic as she was inextricably linked to her Manolos. The Polished Romantic is bright is bright, feminine, and preppy, strong on florals and frills, with brands such as Chanel, Rebecca Taylor, and Burberry, thus echoing Charlotte’s style. And the Laid-Back Power Dresser who doesn’t compromise comfort for style, has a penchant for relaxed tailoring, favoring brands such as Loewe, Vince, and Marc Jacobs, is giving strong Miranda vibes.

However labels are less acceptable now than twenty years ago and the partnership addresses today’s a la carte sensibilities. “It’s not about dressing like a specific character, but really about being inspired by our work to identify your own personal style,” said And Just Like That co-costume designer, Santiago. “I believe fashion should be accessible and fun for everyone and reflect each person’s individuality, and that’s exactly what we hope to convey with this collaboration. I’m proud that these ThredUP collections showcase stylish assortments across every price point and size. And yes, there are thrifted Manolos!”

Carrie, and to a lesser extent the other characters, inspired a generation of designers, stylists and consumers with the looks she wore. She represented the fantasy of fashion and the joy of dressing up before pandemic-induced working from home killed glamor and glorified sweats. Carrie showed up to go shopping, she dressed for the occasion of it, whereas today we shop in our pajamas without moving from the couch. “Shopping is my cardio,” she once said.

A ThredUP 2021 report found that 33 million consumers bought secondhand apparel for the first time in 2020, and 76 percent of those first-time buyers plan to increase their spend on secondhand in the next 5 years, while its recent Thrift for the Holidays Report revealed that 62 percent of consumers believe buying secondhand apparel/fashion gifts are more socially acceptable now than 5 years ago, demonstrating that any remaining stigma around wearing or gifting pre-worn is lifting.

The elevation of secondhand is inkeeping with our more enlightened society driven by diversity, inclusivity and sustainability, all words little used 20 years ago. “At ThredUP, our mission is to inspire a new generation to think secondhand first, and we admire Molly and Danny’s commitment to more sustainable styling through thrift,” Erin Wallace, ThredUP’s VP of Integrated Marketing said in a statement. “Television is increasingly driving shopping trends, and this collaboration makes it possible for consumers to thrift the look in a responsible, wallet-friendly way.”

100 percent of the proceeds of the ThredUP And Just Like That partnership will go to the Willie Garson Fund which directly supports connecting children in foster care with loving families. Garson who played Stanford Blatch, Carrie’s loyal friend with the biting wit, died during the filming of And Just Like That.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry