Nestled in between the Hibachi and Dim Sum tents at the University of Miami farmer’s market lies a haven called UThrift –a student-run thrift shop where students are encouraged to recycle their old clothes and take new (old) ones, too.
“Imposter passion” might just be the common characteristic of the millennial student. We attend class, become enlightened, craft politically charged posts on Facebook proclaiming our simple solutions to multifaceted problems and feel self-righteous, despite our lack of action.
Among the list of issues that we preach from our pedestal profiles is sustainability. We’re all too proud of our vegan diets and reusable water bottles, but any inconvenience and our green lifestyles get pushed to the back burner. We pick and choose which areas of our lives to live greenly and turn a blind eye to those in which we fall short.
Fashion falls into the latter category. Being green may be cool, but we have yet to approach what is perhaps culture’s trendiest sector, fashion, with this eco-friendly mentality.
“We completely rebranded the store to make it cooler and more exciting for the UM student,” said Veronika Seider, UThrift director. “That’s why we decided to make it more geared toward clothing and accessories.”
Now a staple of the weekly farmer’s market, UThrift sets up shop every Wednesday, its white tent shading the racks and tables of donations. It’s the only booth where students don’t even have to reach for their wallets –everything is free. Anyone can thumb through the store and take what they like. In order to encourage donations, UThrift offers a deal that’s hard to deny: donate any number of pieces and take that many, plus one, in exchange
It’s no secret that fashion standards at the University of Miami are pretty lofty. Running shorts, oversized tees and Birkenstocks just don’t cut it. That’s what makes Miami a prime place for an on-campus thrift store.
Free People and Urban Outfitters are selections typical of the shop. “I remember seeing a Free People top hanging at the store and realizing that it probably retailed for around $100, and it was just sitting there waiting to be picked up for free,” said
Trash bags full of Forever 21 and Zara pieces litter the UThrift scene each week at the market.
“Our adviser dropped off a bunch of little boys’ clothes, but girls were snatching them up pretty quickly because they were Ralph Lauren vintage-styled polo shirts that could be worn as crop tops or jean shorts that cinched at the waist,” Pochi said. “It’s funny how it might not have been the initial market but now that it’s out there for free, people take it without any preconceived notions about the piece.”
University of Miami students