Picture this: it’s 2012. The Twilight Saga movies have just ended with Breaking Dawn: Part 2, and The Hunger Games have just begun. The world is bouncing back from the whole “KONY 2012” fiasco, and Macklemore has just released his hit song, “Thrift Shop.” You know the words:
“I’ll wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big a** coat
From that thrift shop down the road.”
In under four minutes, Macklemore redefined fashion: suddenly everyone was shopping at the local thrift store. Hand-me-down flannels and gas station wolf shirts populated schools around America, and mom jeans became all the rage. It was cool to wear clothes that once belonged to earlier generations, and it was all sold at killer prices.
Over time the trend faded. For me, thrift stores went back to being used primarily for finding the most ridiculous outfits for girls’ choice dances, Halloween costumes, and cheap books.
That is, until I went to college. I quickly discovered that one of the themes throughout my major was sustainability, especially as it pertains to personal lifestyle choices. I began to realize how unsustainable my own choices were and wanted to make a change. I noticed that many of my peers shopped second-hand in an attempt to be more eco-minded. Why shop new when you could shop perfectly good used?
I was convinced these people were thrift wizards. They were always finding the most incredible pieces: vintage Pink Floyd t-shirts, brand-new Dr. Martens, trendy button ups, you name it. I, on the other hand, was more like an off-brand magician hired for children’s birthday parties when it came to thrifting. The talent for finding “the good stuff” was not one I possessed. I spent hours sifting through musty clothes designed circa 2001 (and not the good Britney Spears denim-on-denim 2001) only to come up empty-handed. I nearly gave up thrifting forever—until I found True Blue Reuse.
Did you know that Utah State has its own thrift shop right here on campus? True Blue Reuse is a second-hand store filled with clothing donated from other college students like yourself. Around finals week of Spring semester, students can donate clothes they don’t want and the store fills up with brands like Lululemon, Nike, and Levi.
If you’re like me and have never heard of True Blue Reuse, you might be wondering a couple of things. Where is it? How can I donate? How can I get involved with the store? Well, let me let Zoey Marty, the current head of True Blue Reuse, answer all of those questions for you.
Where is it? “It’s always in Mountain View Tower basement, right by the Junction and the cemetery. It’s kind of sketchy, smells kind of weird, but we’re happy with it.”
How can I donate? “We collect during finals week. We put bins out all over campus in the social areas. We do have a couple collections throughout the year, but if you want to donate you can bring it in to [the Sustainability Office] pretty much any time.”
How can I get more involved? Can students volunteer? “There’s so many opportunities. We have meetings every week in which we talk about all the events coming up. Volunteering is mostly through AggieSync, so it’s really easy to find stuff on there. Just search True Blue Reuse and you can log your hours on there. But we don’t really need a ton of volunteers until May, but come finals week it gets crazy. You can also volunteer through the Sustainability Office or go on sustainability.usu.edu/index and hit ‘contact us’ to sign up for the newsletters.”
Though the eco-friendly to-do list can appear to stretch for miles, organizations like True Blue Reuse are taking big steps to making that list seem a little smaller. With some luck, you could even become a thrift wizard yourself.