‘Slow fashion’ is growing quickly; local second-hand stores thrive

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The Op Shop and Little Shop of Hoarders are just two of the businesses thriving in the Rochester area

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) β€” Many were surprised to learn that “fast fashion” giant Forver 21 filed for bankruptcy, and will close almost 200 stores. Including the location at The Mall at Greece Ridge.

Even more were surprised to learn that it wasn’t for the usual reason. They were doing fine online. But younger women and men are more interested in getting clothing that will last; not something that is fast. Two local woman-owned “slow fashion” stores in the Rochester area β€” The Op Shop and Little House of Hoarders β€” are proving just that.

Joanna Carroll, The Op Shop

The Op Shop in Rochester is a clothing store that sells used vintage clothing, upcycled clothes, and other handmade products. Like so many other slow fashion businesses in Rochester, it’s thriving. Joanna Carroll runs this business – with vendors popping up in the building – and has strong feelings on the closing of fast fashion giant Forever 21.

“I was like ‘YES!’ that was probably the best thing I could have heard all day! You can definitely do better, like thrifting, clothing swaps, if you’re trying to find those basics,” Carroll said. “They’re already out there.”

She gets all kind of clientele looking for slow fashion clothing.

“People are just tired of just getting a good deal,” Carroll said. “There’s an ethical side that my generation and younger are realizing. This our planet we’re talking about. This is one of the most catastrophic things for our planet is mass-produced clothing.”

Down the road on Gregory Street is another store called The Little Shop of Hoarders, which also sells used, vintage, upcycled, and clothes on consignment. Owner Monika Ludwinek agrees.

Monika Ludwinek, The Little House of Hoarders

“Second hand clothing is just better quality, it lasts for so much longer,” Ludwinek said. “Fast fashion is just a season long, and then it’s in the trash, polluting our environment. I think people are becoming more aware, they want to also just find really cool things that re unique and original, which they are doing.”

“I think that’s more of a priority nowadays; is the quality over that cheap fix,” Carroll said.

Both Carroll and Ludwinek got into collecting and thrifting when they were young, and have embraced another part of the business.

“It’s fun! You can be like ‘I got it at a thrift store for three bucks,'” Carroll said. “There are such cool clothes out there already; just find it! It’s fun!”

For those apathetic towards clothes or the speed of their clothing, Carroll and Ludwinek say you can find a community instead, and a reason to cherish your clothes for a long time.

“They can try things on, they get to interact with the people who are here, it’s a lot more fun, you can get to know your community,” Ludwinek said.

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