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Why the Thriftcore trend is here to stay

By Simone Preuss


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A young woman browsing in a thrift store. Image: Burst / Pexels

Move over, ‘Cottagecore’, ‘Coastalgrandmother’ and ‘Barbiecore’ - there is a new trend currently making waves on social media and that’s ‘Thriftcore’. Not just since the pandemic, social media has been fuelling new fashion aesthetics and has worked towards democratising fashion.

Thriftcore fashion or thrift store chic refers to consumers buying clothes secondhand from thrift stores like the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Goodwill, Humana or others. They may choose decade-specific items such as bell bottom pants, concert t-shirts or vintage items or pick a particular style like dark clothes, oversized items, plaids and other patterns.

According to research by sustainable accessories brand Wave,‘Thriftcore’ is a rising trend that will dominate 2023, with over 167,000 TikTok views for the hashtag #thriftcore garnered already. 

The British brand also noticed that searches spiked for terms like “charity shops” (by 200 percent), “green living” (by 250 percent) and “how to make an offer on Depop” (by a whopping 500 percent). For Wave, this implies that “Brits are switching to a more sustainable way of shopping”. 

The same trend has been observed in Europe and the United States, with the younger generations leading the way. ‘Thriftcore’ and buying secondhand is appealing to the urge to curb fashion’s impact on the environment while not having to forgo a varied wardrobe that is also cost-effective. Given the current cost-of-living crisis, the trend is set to grow.

Reason enough for brands and retailers like Karen Millen, Asos, Browns, French Connection, Farfetch and others to partner with secondhand and resale platforms like Thrift+ and Depop. Designer secondhand fashion as offered by platforms like Vestiaire Collective and The RealReal is also doing well.

“One skill to charity shopping is being able to think outside the box. Charity shops are filled with an assortment of fabrics, from jeans and gingham dresses, to duvets and curtains. Get your upcycling cap on when you plan your visit, and think of ways you could utilise these fabrics to create stylish, one-of-a-kind pieces and become your own trendsetter,” advises Wave. 

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