Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The rise of thrifting culture in Cape Girardeau

Friday, August 18, 2023
Fashion Merchandising minors Emma Fritsche and Adam Nicholson pose as they express their individuality though the clothing they have thrifted. Majority of clothing pieces featured are from local Cape Girardeau thrift stores.
Photo by Kyrié Padberg

In a world where fashion trends come and go, thrifting can be so much more than shopping for a new piece of clothing. It can open up a realm of new possibilities for people wanting to express their individuality.

When Laurie Everett opened Annie Laurie’s Eclectic Emporium in 2006, she was the one of the youngest in the antique and thrifting business at the age of 28. Recycled items of value and thrifting was a part of Everett’s lifestyle, even though it might not have been ‘on-trend’.

“When I was younger, everyone wanted to look the same, no one wanted to be different. It was outside the norm for me because I didn’t want to be like everybody else. I wanted to be different.”

Everett tries to keep up with what’s on trend through fashion magazines and watching Tik Tok videos. She said the easiest way for her to stay ahead of popular trending items for the Midwest was to look at the east and west coast fashion trends.

Everett said not only vintage clothing but vintage furniture is better made by the construction and the garments used to curate the products.

“What is great about vintage is it’s always going to be in fashion,” she said. “There are certain items that you can not replicate and creating your own style is always going to be on trend, that keeps you unique and keeps you individual.”

(RIGHT) Nicholson is wearing a vest he found from Annie Laurie’s 50% off Bargain Basement and (LEFT) Fritsche is showcasing a white blouse from Safe House of Southeast Missouri Thrift Store. Nicholson and Fritsche have been thrifting together since they were in high school because they like to share their unique taste in style.
Photo by Kyrié Padberg

Safe House for Southeast Missouri Thrift Store also opened in 2006. All of the profits from the thrift store go to the Safe House of Southeast Missouri to offer assistance to adults and children who have encountered domestic violence.

At Safe House of Southeast Missouri Thrift Store there is everything from clothing, accessories, household items and children’s toys for an affordable price.

Every item they sell is donated by the community. Volunteers go through the donations to make sure there aren’t stains, tears, and work properly before placing it on the floor.

Director of Safe House for Southeast Missouri Thrift Store Elizabeth Hileman has been managing the thrift store for 17 years.

Hileman said the store vintage and unusual items.

“If you need it, you can find it,” Hileman said.

Junior Photography major Dillion Filer was inspired by Emma Chamberlain to start his thrifting journey. His favorite thrift store is Safe House of Southeast Missouri Thrift Store because he can always find an original item.
Photo by Kyrié Padberg

SEMO Alumna Fashion merchandising minor Emma Fritsche was inspired to start thrifting at the beginning of high school because of the affordability. She enjoys thrifting weekly while also selling consignment.

Her consignment selling started at the beginning of 2023 when she was doing a huge closet clean out. Since she has been thrifting for over eight years, she had quite a few original pieces. Consignment became her second income during college.

“Start off finding the basics. You need a good pair of jeans and a nice white top.” Fritsche said. “Fun sweaters and funky skirts are fun to buy but if you do not have anything to pair it with, you might not wear it.”

She said one of the biggest benefits of thrifting would be that someone else has lived their life with that piece of clothing and now she can give it a new life instead of going to a landfill.

Fritsche doesn’t find herself shopping for fast fashion unless it is for sunglasses or shoes. She will often thrift a T-shirt to crop or turn a pair of jeans into shorts to help create a personalized and sustainable closet.

“Anytime you are shopping second hand or thrift, you are being a part of a movement where you are caring about the environment,” Laurie Everett said. “It is such a refreshing thing to see people your age being interested in vintage items and also being involved in the planet and all the changes happening in the world.”