Shopping for American-made, vintage and do-it-yourself clothes

  • Article by: AIMEE BLANCHETTE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 24, 2013 - 4:09 PM

Socially conscious shoppers talk about filling their closets without going to the mall. For many, that means forgoing fast-fashion for everything from American-made to secondhand clothes.

Kaia Roberts, 29, has an eclectic taste for used clothing. She can't even remember the last time she purchased something new from a retail shop. Roberts says she enjoys the thrill of the hunt in finding pre-loved pieces and it's fun to take advantage of things that otherwise would've ended up in the garbage. July 10, 2013. ] JOELKOYAMA•joel


Greg Martin, 44, Minneapolis

Job: Owner of Urban Bean Coffee in Minneapolis.

Describe your style: Blue-collar casual or preppy rugged.

Wearing: Gitman Bros. shirt from BlackBlue; Baldwin denim jeans; vintage wingtip shoes from a store in New York.

Why buy American? “It’s nice to know that people aren’t being exploited and are getting paid a fair wage. It’s also about helping small businesses and the economy. I like the idea that my purchases are maybe helping to keep some people in America employed — regardless of where they came from.”

Isn’t it expensive? “It costs a lot of money to have a wardrobe of all U.S.A. clothes. Shirts are $125 to $225. Jeans are $250. Still, you’re better off having a few nice pieces than a billion pieces of junk.”

Is there anything in your closet that’s not American-made? Boxer briefs and socks from Banana Republic Outlet. Also, 30 pieces of workout clothes from Lululemon, because I have yet to find American-made yoga pants that I like.”



Kaia Roberts, 29, Minneapolis

Job: Tantric hatha yoga student, small-business owner.

Describe your style: Eclectic, built with high-quality pieces and natural fibers.

Wearing: Sleeveless shirt-dress by BCX, jeans by [BLANKNYC], shoes by Michael Antonio, glass necklace from France. All sourced at B. Resale, Elite Repeat and T.J. Maxx for under $50 total.

What does “socially conscious style” mean to you? “I make deliberate choices about shopping small businesses and about buying natural and sustainable fibers. It’s important to support artisans or labels that focus on the craft of clothing and style, so that those techniques won’t be lost under a sea of fast fashion. Being mindful takes some of the impulse out of shopping, but to me that’s a good thing.”

Why do you shop used? “Budget benefits aside, shopping used allows me to find unique, well-made pieces from labels I may not otherwise have access to. I can reduce waste by giving new life to lovely things while supporting the businesses in my community. What’s not to love?”

Do you have any tips for buying used clothes? “Know what colors, patterns, textures you like and also what shapes suit you. It helps to shop often, as the stock at resale and consignment stores is always changing.”


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