Lightly worn, gently used, and pre-loved items are not the types of sales pitches most Jamaicans are used to, particularly when it comes to shopping for clothing items.
In fact, most Jamaicans have a bias towards words like ‘brand new’ and ‘mint- condition’ tending to frown upon what is colloquially referred to as ‘pup inna’.
However, just as the world adjusts to life with the ongoing pandemic, with preferences changing and new markets emerging, there is a growing appetite for thrift items in Jamaica.
The shift to thrift is a trend that has been on the rise since 2015, with the emergence of a handful of social media groups dedicated to the buying and selling of used items.
However, the move towards thrift fashion has really accelerated in the last six months, following the emergence of at least three new online thrift shops, which popped up around March 2021.
According to local thrift shopper Lady Pink, the shift towards thrift is something that is inevitable as people become more socially conscious and more environmentally aware.
“How often can you wear a ballroom gown? Just once. People are more aware that clothing cost a lot particularly when you can only wear an item once. So, thrift stores provide consumers with a great opportunity to earn, while freshening up their own closets on a budget,” Lady Pink told The Den.
“It also has benefits for the environment because thrifting is a way to reuse,” Lady Pink added.
While no doubt there are perks to thrifting (the act of going shopping at a thrift store) particularly when it comes down to dollars and cents, the issue for Jamaicans has always been the stigma attached to wearing clothing previously worn by others.
However Lady Pink explained that stigma is not static and just like other things it changes over time, a long with public values, attitudes, and preferences.
“ I mean it is true there is that [stigma] I still have girlfriends who claim they don’t want things people have sweated in but that’s changing especially when I remind them that they are sharing other more intimate things, sometimes unknowingly,” laughed Lady Pink.
“But on a serious note, like when you buy clothing at a shop, sometimes others have tried it on. You still have to go home and give it a wash. So it is the same concept. Nothing a little soap and water can’t take care of, plus most of the items sold in thrift shops are in really good condition, they are next to new, Lady Pink added.
The rising popularity of thrift shopping isn’t just taking place in Jamaica, but its well documented among U.S. Millennials and Gen Z with it beginning to gain an edge over regular retail.
According to statistics out of the United States, over 30 million people bought used items for the first time in 2020, utilizing popular secondhand shopping apps like DePop.
The below are The Den’s top pick online shops to check out when thrift shopping in Jamaica
Thrift it by K puts the ‘t’ in thrift as it is one of the few online stores where you can purchase a pre-owned lace wig!
Lace wigs are bloody expensive and, if you just want to try one out a thrifty pre-loved one is a good option.
Thrift it by K carries a wide variety of gently used shoes and party clothing that are of impeccable quality.
While this online spot specializes in thrift items, from time to time there are a few new pieces.
Thrift Store JA is the new kid on the thrift bloc having just recently launched in March 2021.
However, the newbies have come out strong with high fashion pieces as well as urban swag.
Boasting bargains, deals and steals, Thrift Store JA is so far delivering on its slogan, with many thrifty professionals sharing rave reviews for the spot.
What can’t you get at Thrift Stop 876 ?
They’ve got just about everything from dumbbells (yes, gym equipment) to cute evening dresses.
Not to mention they’ve got a online rack for bits and bobs under $1000 JMD.
Thrift Shop 876 are super responsive on Instagram, as well as, they have a variety of delivery and payment options.
Thrift Nature Closet JA is the big dog in the thrift game, bringing to local consumers finds that are comparable to thrift shops in Manhattan.
After all who wouldn’t want a dress that Beyonce has worn once?
While they don’t share whom the items come from, rumour has it that the items are circulated down from the ‘Crème de la crème’ with this thrift shop boasting a variety of brand name pre-owned items.
Tatiana’s Wardrobe is another newbie fashion outlet which has a mix of new and pre loved bits and bobs.
While admittedly Tatiana’s Wardrobe is more for the budget conscious shopper looking for a bargain on new clothing, this spot also has a few pre-loved head turners.
This spot is not only budget friendly, but has fantastic customer service (a rarity in Jamaica).