A common occurrence that I have recently come to notice among the middle to upper class (to extreme upper class) girls that are somewhat within an earshot of my social circles is that they tend to thrift shop. And when I say thrift shop, I mean Good Will thrift shop. They don't go to the high-end white people stores that are branded specifically for them. This has always been a bit of a mystery to me — why would someone who could afford Nordstrom shop at a store intended to make the lives of poor people easier? The answer to this is simple: reinforcement of classism and thus racism. Many of the girls I am familiar with who do this will buy a shirt for $2-10, and then resell it at $30-$40 perhaps adding some paint to it or glitter before selling it. Several girls I know have started what they term "businesses" doing this.
Good Will is meant for poor people. The prices are low and the clothes are pre-worn so that people who cannot afford store-bought clothes have a place to access the basic human need of clothing at a reasonable price. Poor people in the Unites States are disproportionately black and Latinx, meaning that thrift stores primarily serve poor Communities of Color. When wealthy white (predominantly) girls move into this territory and begin to buy from thrift stores, the demographic the stores serve changes, and as a result of the new buyers, prices get jacked up and poor people cannot afford to shop there anymore. Whereas the wealthy white girls have a plethora of opportunities available to them and can shop at literally wherever their parents are willing to pay for yet continue to occupy a space that is not theirs. Because of this, the atmosphere of thrift stores change too, and instead of Communities of Color exchanging conversation in Spanish, it comes wealthy white girls posing for Instagram pictures in front of the "Good Will" sign. This physically pushes People of Color away from shopping at thrift stores. This is similar to the gentrification of poorer neighborhoods termed 'up and coming'.
The next level of this is the reselling. Rich white girls take the clothes initially intended for poor People of Color, that they bought at $6, and then resell the clothes on Instagram or Snapchat for upwards of $40, making a profit from the disenfranchisement of poor PoC. Branding such clothes with sharpie or glittered words reading "girl pwr" or "flower child" , these girls believe that this creativity justifies the reselling of the clothes and somehow makes the clothes their creation, forgetting the larger implications of such a process.
I was on ThriftShopChic.com, and found some interesting conversation on this issue, "I get that thrift stores aren’t going to “run out;” that’s not what I’m worried about. I am worried about what you accurately named as “hipster,” being that “cool kids” will go pick through the most “in style” clothes, leaving “ugly” stuff for others. Other people might even have more constricted schedules, which means they can only pop in at night after clothes have been picked through by people with the privilege of shopping at better times… maybe not. Who knows... But if you are working 9 to 5 or two jobs and your only nice work pants rip, do you even have time to go thrift that evening after your shift is over and risk not finding your size?... And if that’s a problem, it’s multiplied by ten for harder-to-find sizes. I wear plus sized clothes. A good name for plus sized professional wear is Lane Bryant. A pair of dress slacks from LB retail price could run $60-80. Ouch. That hurts, but I can actually handle that if I have to every once in awhile. Or, I could go to a thrift store, “get lucky” and find a rare, rare pair of dress slacks that fit me, and pay so much less. I would leave feeling like the universe smiled upon me, but there is an even greater chance that I actually DID take that pair from a woman who can’t currently afford the $60-80. Maybe I scored them as my third pair of dress pants, and she was looking for her first. There’s no way to know, but that is probably much more likely to happen for a plus size woman than for a woman with a more common pants size. Add on top of that the fact that obesity disproportionately affects poor people". An issue that this article excerpt identifies is the scarcity of clothing that fits. Maybe the rich white girls buying two jumbo bags of clothes to resell could have grabbed a top to fit an overweight woman working two jobs with barely enough cash to buy a blouse for work. Some food for thought.