Calgary

Goodwill celebrates the art of thrifting with virtual fashion show

Goodwill is holding a fashion show to celebrates the art of thrifting, featuring great finds from Goodwill stores across Alberta.

Viewers can log on to a live Zoom call to see fashionistas model their thrift-store finds

Jocy McCormack of Calgary is one of 15 fashion influencers who will participate in Goodwill's virtual fashion show celebrating thrifting, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. McCormack, who goes by the instagram handle ojoshi, describes her style as laid back and hip, utilizing bold statement pieces and accessories to make her outfits pop. (Submitted by Jocy McCormack)

Thrifters rejoice! Goodwill is holding a fashion show to celebrate the art of thrifting, featuring great finds from Goodwill stores across Alberta.

The event will be held via Zoom, Thursday at 7 p.m.

Shannon Black, brand coordinator for the Calgary region Goodwill, says it's been in the works since before COVID-19.

"We wanted to host this fashion show that would showcase the thrifter fashion that you can find in our stores throughout the province," Black told The Homestretch, adding that when the pandemic hit, plans were adjusted to make use of Zoom.

The basics are still the same — but stylists will present their outfits on the virtual runway.

"We will have 15 local influencers that specialize in thrifter fashion turn their house into the catwalk, and they'll be presenting outfits that they've bought at Goodwill," Black said. 

Black said the participants will model their own outfits, and provide their own thrifting and fashion tips.

"Each influencer that we've worked with has gone to a Goodwill store across the province and has styled their own outfit," Black said. "Each influencer has a different style, has a different connection to the thrifting community. And we'll be styling their pieces and be showcasing their pieces."

Black said one influencer specializes in vintage fashion. Another has challenged herself to go a whole year without purchasing any brand new clothing.

"So she's going no new clothes 2020, and instead she's buying thrifted pieces, and recycling pieces she has already in her closet," Black said. "So this is a great nod to that push toward sustainable fashion and thrifting, and moving away from those fast fashion retailers."

Kenya Grant of Calgary says she loves unique vintage items that she can channel '90s fashion trends but also mixes in modern, stand-out glam statement pieces. Kenya has been thrifting since high school as an affordable way to keep up with the fashion trends. She goes by the Instagram handle thriftgyal. (Submitted by Kenya Grant)

Because the fashion show is live, the influencers will also be able to take questions from viewers. 

Black said this is a particularly rich time for thrifters, as stores have more donations than usual.

"What we're noticing is that as people have spent more time during the pandemic at their homes, they're actually cleaning out many closets and going through a lot of different donated items and actually dropping it off at Goodwill," she said. "So we've actually had a surge in our donations, which we're truly thankful for."

Black said donations are the lifeblood of the Goodwill business, adding that 89 cents on every dollar spent in Goodwill stores goes to support that the organization's mission to help Albertans with disabilities find and gain meaningful employment.

"We're incredibly fortunate to not only have a community that supports us by shopping at our stores, but also a great army of donors that continue to support us through donations."

Black said once people get the hang of thrifting, many are hooked — but for different reasons. For some, it's the thrill of the hunt. For others, it's about feeding a hobby such as collecting crystals or beer steins.

"So it really is about the thrill of the hunt as well as we do have our local thrifters, our fashion thrifters, who are looking for sustainable fashion and looking for pieces to add to their closet."

Melissa Mathison is not buying new clothes in 2020, only thrifted items and reusing pieces already in her closet – she describes her style as eclectic and fun. Her Instagram is: yycthriftguide (Submitted by Melissa Mathison)

And that's where the fashion show comes in.

Black said the organization would like to encourage the trend of thrifting — getting away from cheap fast fashion and creating your own unique look.

And sometimes, getting an incredible find.

"We do actually have a boutique section in our stores which is those designer labels," she said. "And a couple of weeks ago we actually had somebody donate an authentic Louis Vuitton purse. So if you do some hunting and you come to our stores often, you can find a lot of different treasures."

The authentic Louis Vuitton purse went for $500.

Black offered some tips for beginning thrifters.

"My suggestion is when you head into a Goodwill Store, is to start in your favourite section first, so for example if you're looking for jeans, head straight to the jeans section," she said. "I like to feel the fabric and I also look for brand names that I know and love, and then I always grab a couple pairs so that I can kind of look at them, know if they're gonna fit me or not, try them on. As well, I always try to find three places that I can wear each item that I'm going to buy."

Above all else, Black said the prices are such that you can always just donate it back to the store if you don't love it.

She calls thrifting "feel-good fashion".

To register for the live, virtual fashion show, head to goodwill.ab.ca.

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