thrift, clothes

Upcycling meets charity at Mount Sinai Resale Shop

By Briana Garrett
Medill Reports

After the hip hop song “Thrift Shop” hit the mainstream, the idea of thrifting and upcycling became edgy and avant garde, marking a shift in the paradigm surrounding eco-fashion and the demographic at local thrift stores.

Mount Sinai Resale Shop, 2902 N. Clark St., has a large stock of vintage furniture, clothes and linens and their items have seen new life because of their younger customer demographic. As 100% of Mount Sinai Resale Shop’s earnings benefit Mount Sinai Hospital, employees and volunteers say they are ecstatic about how their work also does the planet some good.

“It’s a fun job and you get to turn around and do projects for a hospital that helps people regardless of ability to have access to healthcare,” said Melissa Masek, president of the Mount Sinai Women’s Board and a resale shop volunteer.

clothes, thrift
“Fast fashion isn’t really made for longevity. But upcycled clothing has a little more life in it,” said Jillian M., an employee at Mount Sinai Resale Shop. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
“Resale shopping, like shopping for the young kids, is really, really in. It used to be just college kids coming in to find furniture for their first apartments but now, it’s for the clothes. It’s more in to buy resale from an eco-friendly standpoint, from a cost standpoint. You get a better variety.” said Melissa Masek, president of the Mount Sinai Women’s Board and a resale shop volunteer. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
“I think there are three awesome benefits for why I’ve been involved with this for thirty years now. One, clothes and other items don’t end up in a landfill, which is awesome. Two, people can buy it all at a reduced price so they’re getting value. Three, we’re raising money for charity so people who may not have access to good health care can get what they need,” Masek said. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
“When we started, it was a completely different demographic. We had a lot of people who came from the senior centers and they would come in groups. They would come and buy fabric to make quilts. Little by little the demographics changed.”- said Mount Sinai Resale Shop volunteer Joanne Hoffman. Now, younger customers shop as well. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
A customer evaluates a frame for purchase. “We’re seeing every age,” from high school shoppers all the way up to people in their 90s, Masek said. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
Mount Sinai Resale Shop staff boast of the place being a one-stop shop for the entire household. You can even find antique dolls. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
When customers aren’t buying clothes, the next most popular items are the books that would normally be costly, says Hoffman. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
tea cups
Mount Sinai Resale Shop displays fine china. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
Mount Sinai encourages customers from all walks of life to stop in. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)
Photo at top: “We have so many varieties of the things: the vintage, the books, the jewelry,” said volunteer Joanne Hoffman. (Briana Garrett/MEDILL)