Community June 29, 2024

For the Love of the Thrift

Sustainable practice of thrifting as consignment hits the mainstream fashion world

There is a certain bit of pride that comes with following a compliment on your fit with sharing: “I found it at the thrift store,” or “It’s vintage!” The idea of thrift shopping for your wardrobe or even home goods is no new concept, but in recent years, this act of sustainable shopping has hit the mainstream, carving out its piece of the pie in the fashion world. And in Sun Valley, thrifting is at another level.

According to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s State of Fashion growth trends, the fashion industry is worth more than $2.5 trillion, with more than 100 billion garments produced annually. For shoppers, however, sustainability peaks as the most important factor for nearly 60 percent of consumers, leading the way for the secondhand fashion sect to see growth topping 127% in the past year.

“The stigma of wearing and buying secondhand clothing is a relic of the past, and the recent upswing of secondhand clothing has made thrifting ‘cool,’” says Lindy Stark, manager at the Attic Thrift Store.

The gist? Shoppers are nixing first-worn items when they can, whether for a better price point or a better sustainable practice and searching for secondhand fashion finds by using online secondhand companies like PoshMark and ThredUp, and their tried-and-true local thrift stores and consignment stores.

Sun Valley Staples

Fashion sense and the Wood River Valley go hand in hand. There is no shortage of on-trend residents hitting the trails or heading out on the town. And the plethora of thrift stores and consignment shops—and their customers—reap the benefits. The list of must-visit shops is vast. Vintage, thrift, consign, antique and vintage furniture shops are dotted throughout the valley, and worth a stop to search for your next thrifted or one-of-a-kind find.

“We are very blessed with our location,” says Raeghen Peavey, store director for Gold Mine Thrift and Gold Mine Consign in Ketchum. “With this population, those who donate are able to have full and very fashionable wardrobes. Once they come by and bring items to us, we are able to offer those great brands, too.”

Celebrated as “two great stores with one amazing cause,” Gold Mine Thrift and Gold Mine Consign benefit the Community Library Association. Proceeds support the library’s programs, such as historical archives, free print and digital resources and more. Since its founding in 1955, Gold Mine has been an anchoring part of the Ketchum region’s secondhand fashion and retail scene.

“We try to make it our approach at Gold Mine to focus on our customer base and what our responsibilities are for the Community Library,” Raeghan says.

For Gold Mine, Raeghan adds that this means working with local drama clubs to find costumes for theater productions they sometimes borrow or purchase at a discount and ensuring their customer base leaves with a smile.

In Hailey, the Attic Thrift Store also focuses on thrifting with an added cause. All proceeds from the Attic benefit The Advocates, who offer safety, healing, and resources to people impacted by abuse in the Wood River Valley.

“Imagine changing the path forward for survivors of abuse by helping them experience a world without violence,” Lindy says. “Every day, people are taking the steps at The Advocates and turning their dreams into a reality. With your help, we can do more.” The Attic also provides free vouchers to women and men who need to shop for necessities like warm clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture and more.

“This past year, community members in need received 1,502 Attic Vouchers, valued at $75,658,” Lindy says. “This is an increase of 134% from the year prior.”

And while Sun Valley has had a variety of thrift store options for decades, in recent years, the clientele has seen a shift.

The Shift in the Thrift

In 2023 alone, the fashion industry produced 97 million tons of waste in landfills, and it seems that shoppers are taking back control and using their wallets to change the game, starting with even the youngest shoppers.

For Lindy and Raeghen, the changes in the thrift world can be summed up by the ages and demographics of their customers.

“The younger generations have been in the store a lot more, and that age group has found their own sense of style with thrifting,” Raeghen says. Both women and men are refocusing on more sustainable ways to shop.

Buying secondhand, Lindy explains, is not only an affordable way to shop, but it also makes buyers reconsider how they consume fashion.

“Eighty-five percent of clothing in the U.S., including donations, ends up in incinerators or landfills,” she says. “Ninety-five percent of items that hit our landfills could be re-worn in their current form. The store also allows us to offer a unique opportunity to put nice and often new items into the hands of conscientious shoppers and of those less fortunate.”

So, when it comes down to hitting the shops and scoring amazing finds to fit your style, both Lindy and Raeghen agree that the trick is to “Shop!”

“Shop, Shop, Shop!” Lindy says. “Thrift stores move items quickly, so you must consistently check to see what new inventory has arrived. Unlike traditional retail stores, where you see multiple sizes of the same items, thrift stores offer one-of-a-kind items and shopping experiences. We are always thrilled with our local community’s generosity in donating such incredible items. It’s simply the thrill of the hunt!”

And, speaking of the hunt, it’s all about timing.

“If you are coming in, give yourself some time,” Raeghen says. “The thing I hear from customers most often is, ‘I just came in to do a quick peruse, and I have been here for an hour!’ There is such a mix of everything in the store.”


Shop, Thrift, Consign


Gold Mind Thrift Store

331 Walnut Avenue, Ketchum


Gold Mine Consign

580 4th Street East, Suite 120, Ketchum


Worth Repeating Consignment

471 Leadville Avenue, Ketchum

This article appears in the Summer 2024 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.