Like many immigrants, Latinos have a complicated history second-hand purchases. Some of us grew up analyzing through thrift stores of necessity. Others were brought up to avoid them at all costs, viewing shiny, new things as symbols of success. In recent years, an alternative mindset has emerged from both ends of the spectrum: more and more, Latin shoppers of all class backgrounds are embracing second-hand clothes for their prices as well sustainability and style points.
“When I was growing up in the first generation in a super white community, I could not comfortably sit in one group or the other. I used clothes to express myself, “Mexican-American Isabel Robles tells Refinery29 Somos. When she entered her teens, it meant exploring the once taboo worlds of thrift and consignment stores. “When I was growing up, I became more confident in my individuality and shopping vintage and secondhand gave me the opportunity to pull pieces and style myself differently than everyone else. “
Others, like Moses Mendez II, act used as a way to honor the values of their elders. ‘My mother, who is from the Dominican Republic, is the biggest supporter of’, if you can get it cheaper, why not? ‘ She also does her best to be environmentally conscious, ”he explains. “Because I saw the two things when I was growing up, they have been instilled in me and I feel like I am fulfilling them by shopping used.”
Whatever your motives for buying used, it is also a great way to support Latin entrepreneurs. Below we have compiled seven Latina-owned vintage and thrift stores that will change the way you shop. Keep reading to learn how each founder started, how they feel about sustainable shopping trends and more.
The Plus Bus – Los Angeles, California
Co-founded by Marcy Guevara-Prete
Origin history: “My business partner and I had so much clothing. Not only did we want those clothes to go to other happy homes, but we wanted a place to come and actually have a shopping experience in person. It is so stressful and feels like such an inequality that the amount of opportunities for ours equal size counterparties are just so plentiful, yet there is nothing to shoppers in large sizes. But we have money to spend, places to go, people to see. “
About sustainability and personal growth: “When we started the store, sustainability was not on my radar. But it has become so important to me and such a central part of our business. Not only do we know that fashion is a major polluter of the planet, but I worry about my wallet, I’m interested in investing in brands that care and try to be ethical. I’m really trying to shop out Plus busesand I have been able to do that successfully for almost three years now. “
Current store – Washington DC
Founded by Carmen Lopez
Origin history: “When I was growing up, my mom and I visited each other for treasures every weekend. I saw an opening in the market to make shipping shopping cool, modern and trendy. As a 28-year-old, I saved enough money to start my own business, Current store. My parents, especially my father, did not support my decision. No one in our family worked for themselves, certainly not a woman. I started with a lease on a small brick-and-mortar storefront and grew it to three. Now it’s developed into a national e-commerce site. ”
For attention to detail: “I was brought up to know that everything has value and I should cherish my belongings to make them last. We ask our customers to bring us natural fabric items made of cashmere, silk, linen and cotton. Not only they keep their value, but their new owners will get repeated uses, which is the key to circular mode. ”
Poorly Curated – New York City
Founded by Jamie Espino
Origin history: “As a kid, my dad took me sparingly. We wanted to go on frugality and we wanted to go to lunch. After college, I started looking for jobs at major fashion companies, but then I realized that none of these places shared my beliefs. The more I thought about how I would spend my time, the more I thought, ‘I should just try to make vintage full time.’ Now it’s about to be 6. I love what I do Poorly cured. “
About the price of Fast Fashion: “Ultimately, vintage is a very sustainable way to shop, especially in relation to disposable fashion, which is mostly made by colored people who do not get paid reasonable wages. Why should I want to help people like me not get paid fairly? When it comes to climate change, it is also always poor color communities that tend to be affected. Why should I do that to myself? ”
Fresa Thrift – Denton, Texas
Founded by Anisa Gutierrez
Origin history: “Before the Covid-19 pandemic, I opened my store, Fresa Thrift, but during the lockdown, I decided to quit my full time job and just jump into the store full time. It was a combination of what I loved and needed to love myself. ”
About owning a business: ‘I’ve always had a boss, so it’s hard for me to see myself as my own boss. As a Latino in the workplace, it was me who said, ‘I want to lay my head down and work.’ I was not near many people who looked like me and I would not give them a reason to look down on me. For my mother and my grandmother, starting a business was never an option or a thought. For me to do that and get them to say, ‘You make it look so easy’, it’s nice to hear. I wonder why: What would their small businesses have been?”
Debutant Vintage Clothing – Pomona, Ccalifornia
Founded by Sandra Mendoza
Origin history: “I had collected so much vintage for myself that I had to start selling some of it. In 1998, I started flipping things around on eBay and realized, “Wow, I can make some money.” Eventually it grew into my business, Debutant vintage clothing. “
About generational change: “When I started my business, my parents were like, ‘Eso trapos viejos, ¿vas a vender?’ It’s only been this year – and I’ve been in the business since 2005 – when I showed them my store and they said, ‘Oh, it’s nice here. It’s organized. ‘ As immigrants, they wanted everything brand new and shiny. I am so proud that younger people are embracing used and even repairing and recycling. As a business owner, inventory has become much harder to pick up [laughs]. But as a social movement, I am so happy. ”
Love Street Vintage – San Francisco, California
Founded by Graciela Ronconi
Origin history: “When we were growing up Latina in an immigrant family, we did not have a whole lot of money. We spent a lot of frugality, so I always felt comfortable shopping used, even when it was not a thing. When I was a teenager, cholo- and the pachuco scenes quite popular.There were all these cool subcultures that incorporated vintage into their looks and even though I was young I wanted to look like that.One led to the other and I ended up owning my own vintage shop from 1997. Love Street Vintage is my fourth or fifth incarnation. I’ve had it for almost 12 years now. ”
About learning through experience: “It’s hard to buy used and vintage all the time, but you just try to do your thing. I feel like this generation is really educated about the fashion industry. Thrift stores have been a great teacher for me. Just shopping, feeling different textures and constructions from different eras, it has been very influential for me. “
Circular – New York City
Founded by Vanessa Enriquez
Origin history: “Three or four years ago, I read a book called ‘The Conscious Cabinet’ that really opened my eyes, not just for what the fashion industry does by the ground but to clothing workers. I thought, what can I do – even if it is a minimal impact – to spread the word and create something that can make a difference? I loved shoes, I loved designer things, and I loved the idea of trying to be more green when I launched a brand. All this came together to form Circulara store for designer vintage and used footwear.
About putting quality first: “I’m really proud to think behind every pair I sell. I also repair them myself. If I save a shoe and the strap is skewed or the leather sole comes out, I clean them, use school glue and / or add leather paint. “It’s a lot of love and thought that goes into everything. It’s not just about beautiful shoes.”
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