The arrival of fall means pumpkin spice, autumn leaves, and the back-to-school frenzy.
Along with shopping for school supplies, the start of another academic year also calls for a wardrobe refresher. Who doesn't want to walk into school feeling like a new person, ready for another year of late-night studying and last-minute cramming before exams? (Or another year of making friends and fun memories, depending on which grade you're in).
Female-identifying students may want to bookmark the Brave Boutique Back To School event where female-identifying youth aged 12 to 18 years old can shop for free at the boutique. The event is filled with new and gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, jewellery, feminine hygiene products, and beauty supplies.
Even if you're not going back to school, touching up your closet with new clothes for a new season is never a bad idea.
However, a shopping spree can become pricey, especially as eye-catching fall styles roll into stores. And those gravitating towards thrift stores, whether for sustainability or affordability reasons, may feel limited to in their search.
Thrift stores are a stepping stone into sustainable fashion, but there are many more ways to shop that are similar to thrifting that let you find equally sustainable and affordable unique pieces.
Here are a few ways to upgrade your wardrobe sustainably that aren't thrifting - plus where to find them in Vancouver.
Rag Yards and fill-a-bag Sales
It is exactly what it sounds like; express thrifting for a really good discount. Sometimes you pay by pound of clothing, sometimes you pay $10 for the entire bag regardless of how much clothes you stuff into it. There are a few in Vancouver to look out for.
F As In Frank hosts fill-a-bag vintage clothing sales every now and then, including this summer. They also have a fill-a-bag store called The Rag Machine in the back alley where you can shop as many things as you like and only pay per pound.
Vancouver also has other sales, such as this Studio Yard Sale, that pop up every now and then.
Threading Change organizes swaps across Canada, including many Vancouver swaps, so be sure to look out for local events. For families, 2Loops is a Vancouver-based platform where you can swap items from children's clothes to toys to books. Keep an eye out on platforms like Eventbrite as well (or bookmark my weekly events roundup which oftentimes includes swaps and pop-up shops) for local clothing swaps.
Markets and Garage Sales
Vancouver has a great flea market scene. Take the giant Vancouver Flea Market as an example.
But when it comes to clothes, venues like the Granville Flea Market, which sells curated vintage and thrift clothing from local vendors, and events like the annual Great Grandview Garage Sale (essentially a massive community buy-and-sell), are excellent places to go. It's like thrifting, but on a larger scale.
There are also pop-up garage sales and flea markets happening every now and then, like the Ukrainian Flea Market which is taking place this month.
Facebook groups are another way to trade and buy clothes locally and according to different interests. There are general groups to join like this Vancouver and Lower Mainland focused group, a general B.C. swap and shop group, and a women-only Vancouver swap group.
There are more niche groups as well, such as: