In a chic moment of fast-fashion clothing stores becoming old-fashioned, Uptown Cheapskate attempts to simultaneously meet the needs of the environment, the student budget and the stylish tastes of people in the Bryan-College Station community.
Uptown Cheapskate, a vintage and consignment clothing store located on Texas Avenue, hosted its grand opening on Jan. 24. The event was met with crowds of shoppers on the hunt for gently used clothing and accessories at up to 70 percent less than mall prices. At Uptown Cheapskate, buyers can find any brand, from retailers such as Urban Outfitters to Michael Kors. The second-hand hotspot is one of over seventy national locations, but only this one comes with maroon-tinted Aggieland accessories in the store’s “Caneck Corner.”
The married store co-owners, Lurinda and Craig Berlin, said they are hoping to bring an entirely new type of shopping experience to a relatively thriftless market.
“We wanted to raise the bar for the concept of a resale shop to have a more upscale experience,” Craig Berlin said. “We wanted to be very customer service oriented. Additionally, we wanted sustainability to be a core part of the philosophy of why we do what we do.”
In 2009, the Utah-based company was created by siblings Chelsea and Scott Sloan out of the prospect of opening a hip resale clothing store for teens. The buy-and-sell model was a financial hit with young people, but the environmental aspects of Uptown Cheapskate are the driving reasons for why they do what they do, Berlin said.
“Our second hand stores alone are going to repurpose more than 300,000 pounds of material just this year,” Berlin said. “For the franchise, the number is well into the millions. Yes, we want you to save money. Yes, we want you to get into super fashionable stuff at a reasonable price. But we can also save the planet at the same time from the textile industry’s pollution.”
Texas A&M geoscience professor and climate change policy specialist Andrew Dessler, Ph.D., said the environmental impact humans have on the planet can be directly associated with the pursuit of the latest fashion fads and trends.
“We produce carbon dioxide as a side effect of economic activity,” Dessler said. “Clothes are an example of a thing we make and sell that produces carbon dioxide.”
Carbon dioxide levels and pollution have steadily increased over the last 200 years. While emissions show signs of slowing down, Dessler said it is not too late for people to alter some of their more detrimental habits.
“While some people still question the validity of climate change, younger people believe in climate change and are generally receptive to the subject,” Dessler said.
Among the crowd of people shopping at the establishment’s grand opening was general studies freshman Clarissa Galvan, who said the low costs were her motivation for shopping at Uptown Cheapskate.
“The prices drew me in,” Galvan said. “However, when I got here I was surprised by the high-end designer brands available.”
Present with Galvan was biology freshman Elizabeth Price, who said thrift shops and stores like this are at the forefront of fashion right now.
“I think other expensive stores must exist for these types of resale places to exist, but those places aren’t for me,” Price said. “Other people can buy the Gucci stuff, I’ll do my shopping here.”