Fashion and styling have never been as eclectic as we have it today, opening us to more options to shop from. Our generation is known for expressing our individual identities as we please, making it more important for us to seek out those rare, quality pieces that show off our personalities on our own terms. Thrift shopping is one way to achieve this, and thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Depop, we can now shop these unique pieces from the comfort of our own phones.
Although thrifting has always been a way to shop on a budget, many of us are realizing the perks of buying gems that make us stand out. In Nigeria, thrift shop owners are quickly catching on to this growing trend, opting to grow their businesses on Instagram and expand their target market.
Because Instagram works primarily as a visual medium, thrift sellers are at an advantage, allowing them to forgo the cost of a physical store by simply posting pictures of the items they have for sale and putting details in the captions. Take Clothingsbyshayy for example, a budget-friendly thrift shop that teases their community with upcoming thrift drops. Buyers are often encouraged to pre-order or turn on post notifications so they don’t miss out on the clothes, which adds further to the anticipation of getting your hands on the exclusive pieces.
In addition to the ease of displaying items and lower operational costs, Instagram thrift sellers are able to tap into a wider audience to extend their reach. The target market – primarily millennials and Gen Z – already spend a lot of their time online, making it easier to reach them more effectively. Instagram is also a hub of fashion and inspiration trends, enabling thrift shop sellers like Corsetclothing (corsets) and Imanivintage (luxury designer items) to curate the items they have on sale more effectively.
Platforms like Frugirls take it a step further by using creative content and styling tips in addition to selling thrift items as a way to cut through the noise and grow a community of fashion-loving women. Their Instagram page also encourages and educates their community about the benefits of sustainable fashion and our ethical responsibilities as consumers. By offering more than just thrift pieces to shop, they’re forming more intimate relationships with their customers, which increases their chances of having repeat buys from people who closely align with their ethics and values. Their customers also begin to view these spaces as more than places they can simply shop from but as community-oriented environments in which they are cherished.
The rise of Instagram thrift stores can also be linked to fashion lovers taking a more sustainable approach to purchasing decisions. We’ve become aware of the negative impact of fashion (hyperlink) on the environment, as well as the inhumane (hyperlink) conditions these clothes are sometimes produced. As conscious girls, we’re thrifting to do our bit and try as much as we can to make more ethical choices. We’re encouraged to shop ‘slower’ and buy pieces that we only *really* need. No more shopping ‘til you drop; the motto is now quality over quantity.
Instagram thrift stores are here to stay, as they fulfil the current need for more curated finds and provide a convenient shopping experience. They will only continue to grow in size and number, as we lean towards sustainability in our fashion choices.