Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Curated thrift retailers move to downtown Cape

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
A clothing rack at Vintage '99 displays the store's denim collection, which is sourced secondhand from sellers across the country.
Photo taken by Nicolette Baker

Vintage. Resale. Gently used. Thrifted. Curated.

All these words can describe what appears to be a recent trend on both social media and in the fashion industry: thrifted clothing.

Google Trends — a website by Google that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in the Google search engine across various regions and languages — reports an overall increase in YouTube video searches for keywords such as “thrifting” beginning in December 2017.

YouTube content creator Marla Catherine’s Oct. 12 video “the ultimate guide to shopping (thrifting, online, etc)” gathered almost 79,000 views in less than 12 hours, while other creators’ videos show “thrift hauls” — a detailed explanation of items bought during one thrift shopping session. The videos often highlight highly-sought after items, such as Levi’s 501 jeans, found at low prices.

As thrifting has become more popular on platforms such as YouTube, local vintage shops are offering curated selections of gently-used clothing that fit a closely focused look, style and price range.

Since November 2018, three new curated thrift shops have opened in downtown Cape: Vintage ‘99, Kith and Kin and Aesthete. These join several other already established vintage retailers, including Annie Laurie’s on the 500 block of Broadway.

Emily Scifers of Cape Girardeau has overseen Annie Laurie’s vintage clothing section for eight years. As a store employee, Scifers said she not only handles clothing but follows social media trends, accepts clothing from sellers and dresses mannequins — including the store’s mannequin Zsazsa, who is positioned on the bench in front of the store.

In addition to consignment, owner Laurie Everett visits estate sales to hand-pick clothing, Scifers said. When choosing clothing for the store, Scifers said Everett looks for rare items, especially older pieces from different time periods.

“You’ll stand out because you’ve put together an outfit that’s vintage, and I just think there’s something so creative and cool about that,” Scifers said. “I love it for that.”

In addition to adding uniqueness to an outfit, Scifers said purchasing vintage clothing can also help the environment. She said buying secondhand not only saves discarded clothing from ending up in landfills but also spares the environmental impact of additional apparel being produced in factories.

Lexi Cross, who owns Vintage ‘99, said she enjoys seeing mothers and daughters visit her store. While the mothers often recognize the vintage clothing they used to wear, Cross said their daughters also see the clothing as trendy. Cross said this intergenerational connection through fashion is one of her favorite parts of owning a vintage resale store.

Cross describes her store’s clothing as a “city style,” which she attributes to her time living in New York City. She said as more consumers are reaching for a more urban look, it’s important to keep an open mind as “it’s all about confidence and how you feel in the clothing.”

Aesthete Luxury Consignment owner Jamie Davis said she also looks for unique pieces to feature in her store. She said she looks for older vintage and “classic” pieces, especially those that are from different locations around the world. She said she sources clothing from around the United States and France, in addition to local sellers.

While traditional resale shops — such as Plato’s Closet and Goodwill — have a larger selection, Davis said, it can be difficult to sift through all the options.

At Aesthete, Davis said she intends to offer a more select range of luxury vintage items, sourcing only designer brands and high-quality fabrics. The difference between curated vintage and other consignment stores, Davis said, is the dedication to hand-picked items.

“My main criteria is that it is beautiful, and someone will find it beautiful,” Davis said.