A non-exhaustive list of some of Victoria’s thrift stores for the sustainable shopper
As Millennial and Gen-Z university students, we know that thrifting is the best way to get that Urban Outfitters, vintage aesthetic without paying a semester’s tuition, your right arm, and your firstborn. Buying second-hand is also more sustainable; it’s a great way to stop participating in the fast-fashion cycle.
There are so many places to shop second-hand in Victoria — from chains like Value Village to hidden gems like Vintage Funk Emporium. So, in no particular order, let’s get real about some of Victoria’s thrift stores.
1810 Store St.
Value Village is what most of us think of when we hear someone say “oh my god, let’s ditch this lecture and go thrifting.” They’ve got so much stuff — clothes, shoes, camping gear, costumes, knick-knacks — you name it! However, Value Village’s prices have been consistently on the rise. Many have begun to take issue with Value Village posing as charitable and ethical because the company doesn’t seem to be taking its target customer base into consideration: Value Village is owned by Savers and they acknowledge on their website that they are a for-profit thrift retailer. A lot of their prices are similar to regular stores.
While this may be something to consider if you’re looking for a true bargain, shopping at Value Village is still more sustainable than heading to places like Forever 21. Buying second-hand at Value Village may cost about the same, but at least you’re doing your part to stop participating in fast-fashion. Plus, you never know what treasures you’ll find in those rows and rows of pre-loved clothing.
Beacon Community Services Second Hand Shop
2676 Quadra St.
The Beacon Community Services Second Hand Shop is situated right across the street from the Quadra-Hillside Salvation Army. It’s run by volunteers and it’s small, but 100 per cent of store proceeds go to not-for-profit programs and services. Also, they have some pretty cool stuff. If you’re looking for some killer vintage looks with a side of shoulder pads, then this could be your spot.
They also have some amazing sales. Earlier this year, they had a day where you could buy a grocery bag for five dollars and leave with whatever would fit in the bag. As it turns out, if you roll things up really tightly, you can actually fit quite a bit into a repurposed Save-On-Foods bag — including three sweaters just ’90s enough to look like you got them from UNIF and a pair of Dickies skate pants that sell for $60 at Urban Outfitters.
1551 Cedar Hill Cross Rd.
Ah, the Salvation Army — a bargain hunter’s paradise. Do you need vintage Wranglers? They’ve got them. Are you desperate for a quirky Christmas sweater? They’ve got those too. There is an infinite number of hidden treasures at the Salvation Army, and they have very reasonable prices. Plus, there are lots of ways to save even more when shopping at the Salvation Army, with different sale days throughout the year. Keep an eye out for sales around the holidays and back to school season.
Another way to save is to bring in donations — you get a $10 coupon every time you bring in a bag of items to donate. This means you can get paid to drop off the clothes you’ve been dragging around with you since grade 11, which is a pretty good incentive to clean out your closet.
The Salvation Army has more than just trendy vintage clothing, too. They’ve got housewares, a tool section, and racks of assorted fabrics just begging to be turned into reusable beeswax wraps — among other random yet useful sections. One Martleteer even got a pair of $178 rollerblades for just five dollars last year!
Vintage Funk Emporium
764 Yates St.
Vintage Funk Emporium is a jam-packed, colourful thrift store in downtown Victoria. The walls are covered in signs, records, and vintage band tees. When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by the store mascots — a couple of friendly reptiles doing their thing in a terrarium.
There’s clothing for men, women, and kids. They’ve also got piles upon piles of shoes. And you never know, if you hunt through them well enough, you may just find that pair of perfectly worn-in Doc Martens.
Vintage Funk could be classified as a fusion of hippie and grunge styles. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a gift for a friend, you’ll definitely find something cool. But be warned, you’ll probably spend more time (and money) here than you had planned.
The Patch Clothing
719 Yates St.
Okay, so we all know The Patch is the coolest place for a vintage fashion montage with friends. You’re drawn in by the funky mannequins in weird poses and the racks of quirky sunglasses right near the entrance. Once inside you’re entranced by the rows of vintage jewellery, and the shape of the store draws you further into their beautiful trap. As you wander and marvel at these glorious vintage pieces, you lose all sense of time — much to the chagrin of whoever is waiting for you. Yes, The Patch is the university student’s version of the McDonald’s PlayPlace, but can we talk about the prices for a second?
The Patch is often mistaken for a thrift store. They’re actually more of a vintage store. Their website boasts that they are the mecca of “premium recycled and vintage clothing.” Their stock is well curated and they have items spanning many decades, but this type of curation usually comes with a hefty price tag. In a way, you’re paying for the time someone spent finding all these trippy statement pieces. This means you don’t have to hunt through rows of abandoned skinny jeans, but you may end up paying upwards of $70 for those coveted ’80s mom jeans.
So yes, we all would love to dress like a That 70s Show extra every day and The Patch can make that dream come true. But just know that your dream of strutting around campus looking like a vintage icon comes at a cost.
Habitat for Humanity Victoria ReStore
3311H Oak St.
Now, the ReStore doesn’t sell clothing, but they do have everything you could ever need when it comes to furnishing and taking care of a home. Do you need a kitchen table? They’ve got tons for reasonable prices. Do you need some light bulbs or random screws? Well, they’ve got those too. Do you need a 1970s juice jug with little oranges painted on it? No — but they have it and you’ll probably buy it.
Places like Urban Outfitters sell cool, vintage-inspired home goods with big price tags. At the ReStore, you can spend hours going through their mugs, jars, and light fixtures to find something inexpensive that looks like you bought it from somewhere oh-so-hipster. Or, even better, you can buy a quality piece that just needs to be modernized with some DIY crafting — still sometimes hundreds of dollars cheaper than what you’d find at some hip furniture store.
These are just a few of the many thrift stores and vintage shops in Victoria. Go get thrifty, kids!