Feeling Good About Buying Second-Hand: Goodwill and Council Thrift Shops Make It Stylish to Give Back

Two of the most important reasons I shop at a thrift store is to (a) obtain timeless, stylish gear on a budget, and (b) to help others. Goodwill Industries International, Inc. and National Jewish Women Los Angeles are the charities, who have the best chain shops in Los Angeles that meet this criteria.

Not Charity, but a Chance.

Goodwill’s philosophy

While the Mission Statement of each is tailored to reflect the organization, their overall goal is to “enhance and improve the quality of life for individuals and families facing poverty, homelessness, mental and physical disabilities and unemployment.” Goodwill’s history, based on the philosophy, “Not Charity, but a Chance” was founded in 1902 by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, “a Methodist minister and social innovator.” Initially, they provided “indigent citizens with unwanted goods collected from the wealthy they were hired and trained to repair.” In order to provide them with quality items, at no or low cost, the items were then either re-sold to the employees who fixed them or given to them.

Doing Good and Providing Experience

Today their main focus is to provide training to job seekers and offer programs for seniors, veterans, the disabled and others. Ranked by consumers on the 2017 Brand World Value Index as number one in “doing the most good two consecutive years in a row”, in 2016 they trained and secured employment for over 313,000 people in “IT, banking and health careers” with donations and retail sales of $4.16 billion from “more than 3,20o stores and an online auction site.”

Daniella Wallace (goodwillista.blogspot.com) and The Goodwill Blog, with blogs like Spring Closet Cure by Julia Marchand, also make shopping at their thrift stores worthwhile by providing consumers with tips on what to buy and how to coordinate their finds according to contemporary runway trends.

Charles Jackson, 2016’s Achiever of the Year, and General Manager for the Goodwill thrift store in Central Texas for the past 10 years, can definitely thank Goodwill for turning his life around.

“Twenty years ago, before I became a general manager, I was working as a manager for a Rent-to-Own store by day and selling drugs by night,” he says. “I was arrested, and after spending 24 months in jail I had a difficult time getting a job. I felt like I had “convict” stamped on my forehead.” After going to 20 places, and receiving a ‘No’ at all of them, he finally went to Goodwill where they welcomed him with respect. There was a job opening for a manager, so he applied for it, and got it.

“Now, my days consist of making sure we meet our production goals, organizing the clothing so that they’re in their proper category, and encouraging our cashiers to greet everyone who comes into our stores,” he said. Relieved that he isn’t incarcerated any longer, he believes Goodwill also gave him a second chance to be there for his family.

National Council Jewish Women (NCJW)Thrift Shops

Black print blouse by Emanuel Ungaro (Council Thrift Shops)

National Council Jewish Women (NCJW) was originally founded by Hannah J. Solomon following the 1893 World Exposition Chicago. The Los Angeles chapter was subsequently founded in 1909 by Rachel Kauffman. Patterned on the three Jewish values: Kavod Ha Bri’ot: Respect and Dignity of all Human Beings, Talmud Torah: Education and Awareness, and Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof: The Pursuit of Justice they provide services for more than 12,000 people through their Community Mental Health, Youth Educational and Social Advocacy programs. Their annual “free clothing giveaway” is their largest, and most popular charitable event of the year providing additional resources to those attending.

But it’s through their eight Council Thrift Shops where they earn the most significant amount of revenue to support these programs. “The shops are the main money makers for the organization,” said Cory, a company spokesperson at their MarVista, California location. “After we receive our intake, from sales, we then deposit them in the main organizational account daily.”

Known in Southern California, for high-quality designer clothing, accessories, furniture, etc., on April 23, 2014, in homage to Issey Miyake, a writer for their blog celebrated “his designs that came through their stores in the ensuing months.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether I luck out with a white Theory sleeveless top from Goodwill or a green Marc Jacobs bag at Council Thrift Shop, because the real payoff is knowing someone’s life will benefit from my purchases.

Works Cited:

Marchand, Julia. “Spring Closet Cure”, http://www.goodwill.org/blog/shop/spring-closet-cure/.

Beverly Hills Courier Staff. “National Council of Jewish Women Sets Annual Clothing Giveaway, Volunteers Sought”, Beverly Hills Courier, November 11, 2017, http://www.bhcourier.com/national-council-of-jewish-women-sets-annual-clothing-giveaway-volunteers-sought/.

Folven, Edwin. “NCJW/LA clothing giveaway makes difference in the lives of thousands”, Park LaBrea News Beverly Press, November 30, 2016, http://www.beverlypress.com/2016/11/ncjwla-clothing-giveaway-makes-difference-in-the-lives-of-thousands/.

The Singer Lorde: A Great Musical and Fashion Icon for Today

Wavy dark hair framing snow white skin, high cheekbones and carefully painted lips, the singer Lorde is a bohemian from another time. Is she an enchanted witch or fairy out of a magical forest? No and no. She’s a complicated songstress whose modern tunes about alienation, boredom and romance have impacted the world.

Personal Background:

Born in Takapuna, New Zealand on November 7, 1996 her original name is Ella Marija Lani Yelich O’Connor. “I changed it to Lorde because I was fascinated with royals and aristocracy,” she said. Her father, Van O’Connor, a civil engineer, and her mother, the Croatian poet Sonia Yelich raised her in a supportive environment. Later her early cultural influences would form her trademark. Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Etta James would teach her about pain and suffering, and Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger and other writers about literature. Journalistic and intensely personal her main strength as a lyricist is relating short stories within a song. Similar to another New Zealand writer, Katherine Mansfield, she isn’t afraid to be real.

Cultural Influencer:

In 2013, at 16, after she released her first album Pure Heroine, she was featured on Time magazine’s “list of most influential teens”. Her image became as renowned as her sound, and soon the admitted feminist, was being wooed by MAC Cosmetics and Vogue magazine. With MAC she collaborated on a mini line-a sultry plum lipstick. Pure Heroine, and an eyeliner, Rapidblack. (Naughton and Born, 2014)

Lorde’s Style:

Unswayed by trends she admitted to Vogue that “she liked pants, structured dresses, and other clothes that made her feel powerful.” (Burton, 2014) In 2017, with the release of her second album, Melodrama, she graduated from Comme des Garcons to Jacquemas and vintage Giorgio di Sant’Angelo. This transformation started in 2016, when she moved away from the all-black theme of her adolescence, towards a more colorful palette. One of the most fascinating things about Lorde is her ability to see colors upon hearing certain notes, because she suffers from “sound-to-color-synesthesia.” This disorder is really emphasized effectively in her video Green Room where the lighting changes with her emotions as she sings.

Joining the ranks of her icons, Stevie Nicks and Prince, she’s carrying on both a musical and style tradition, in her own unique way.

Works Cited:

Naughton, Julie and Born, May. “Lorde on Influences and Cosmetics.” WWD, May 21, 2004

Burton, Cinya. “Lorde on Fashion: My Style Icons Are David Bowie and Grace Jones.” eonline.com, February 19, 2014

Can Fashion Be Art Too?

Stage costumes for The Magic Flute (Chagall Fantasies...LACMA) (1)

Dance Costume Created by Marc Chagall for The Magic Flute

Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage (LACMA)

When a writer creates a story for a reader sometimes the last thing they think of is an aesthetic appeal. But when the subjects they’re writing about are highly visual, and they’re writing for those with a creative eye, it’s paramount. That doesn’t mean images take precedence over text, it just means both get equal billing. The easiest and most effective, way to achieve that and totally wow the reader to boot is with a comparison.

A Graceful Gift Fans From The Mona Lee Nesseth Collection (74)

Fan: A Graceful Gift: Fans from the Mona Lee Nesseth Collection (FIDM)

With the writing providing the background, the photos can then provide the sensory element. Whether the piece is published for a traditional print publication or the internet the overall layout needs to be organized well enough to catch a reader’s eye initially, then stay within their imaginations after they’ve read it. That usually means plenty of white space, a pleasing font, clear, attractive photographs or illustrations, and informative captions.

Dapper Day Vintage Outfit Art Collage

See the Hottest Art-Inspired Looks to Hit the Runways for Spring 2018 by Max Berlinger, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-fashion-spring-summer-fashion-week-1105514, (October 5, 2017) a catwalk profile about how designers at Christian Dior, Marni, Calvin Klein, Prada, Undercover, Akris, Coach, Comme des Garcons and Oscar de la Renta were inspired by various artists, is a visual feast marrying art and fashion. Shown with a photo of each artist’s work, before the clothing designs, the literary experience provided is unforgettable, gratifying and seamless.

Written in short, digestible sections, the palettes and patterns of the art and clothing actually show how close both fields are. While it’s not clear that Andy Warhol intended for his Tunafish Disaster (1963) to ever be translated into dresses, Raf Simons of Calvin Klein designed them as if he did.

Bringing Style to the Influencer Game

“The Dandies, Macaronis and Incroyables represented extremely stylish men’s clothing groups,” said Peter McNeil, Professor of Design History at the “Sixth R.L. Shep Triennial Symposium on Textiles and Dress at the Los Angles County Museum of Art” (May 21, 2016)

Dualleh Abdulrahman isn’t just an “artist, photographer, clothing customizer, and stylist” he’s also a fashion industry talent who’s used social media as his personal portfolio. Famous for his afropean” flair that also recalls the “la sapeur or sapes” of the African Congo he described himself in The reason why a stylist, Dualleh Abdulrahman found his own fashion in a thrift store” as having ‘a poor man’s style’, ‘something old, something new’.

LACMA Exhibit Reigning Men (18)

 Display of men’s fashion from LACMA’Reigning Men Exhibit

Half Iraqi, half Somalia and born in Dubai, he “was raised in Germany, educated in England, and currently lives in the Netherlands.” His father, a “funky fresh dude with a big afro” and his uncle, a half Italian, half Somalia dandy influenced his style. Other style icons, who inspired his thrifting choices were Prince and Lenny Kravitz.

Historically he favors “1920s working man’s style” and the uniforms of German soldiers. Ridiculed for his tall, 6’2″ thin frame that never allowed his clothes to fit properly, at 25, he decided to learn how to alter and sew himself.

“I couldn’t afford fabric, so I went to local thrift stores to buy inexpensive garments I could practice altering and customizing,” he said.

Men’s Styles

Reigning Men Exhibit at LACMA (2)

Reigning Men Exhibit at LACMA

His impeccable eye has also led him to opportunities as a professional shopper and image stylist for men, which is featured on his Word Press page, https://duallehabdulrahman.wordpress.com.

“He hasn’t got a blog but his lookbook is incredible. With a modern vintage aesthetic, the Netherland-based Dualleh has mastered the art of mixing different textures and prints to create the timeless product of art that is his style,” wrote the Boston Brighton staff in Top 40 Fashion and Style Bloggers You Should Know, http://www.bostonlyf.wordpress.com.

 

Is Meghan Markle’s Messy Bun Really Breaking Royal Protocol?

Face drawing by VM (10)

Fashion Illustration by Victoria Moore

If we look at all of the hooplas about Meghan Markle’s messy bun it might look like it’s just another fluff piece about hairstyles. When we examine closer, however, we discover it’s really about race and “royal protocol”.

Would the same fuss be made over Kate Middleton’s pearl-studded chignon? No, because it represents years of appropriate looks worn by ballerinas and bespectacled librarians instead of the bed head allure of Bridget Bardot.

Specifically laid-back, with a California swag, the fact that she dares to pair with the soignee, but timeless coats, skirts, dresses and bare legs in pumps adds to its youthful rebelliousness.

Ultimately the question is should she be judged for “expressing herself” or applauded for starting a trend? Only time and a societal shift towards tolerance will tell. Until then we can all enjoy watching a young woman striving to hang onto her individuality in a world striving just as hard to make her conform.

bed bedroom drink girl
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

back view of woman holding her denim jacket
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

I Never Met a Shop I Didn’t Like

Century City Plaza

The reason I like writing store profiles so much is they include everything I love about fashion, retail and writing in one package. Creatively there’s the colorful, adjective-laden prose, photos, and illustrations that visually make it appealing. Economically there’s the thrill of discovery and journalistically there’s the joy of flexing my brainstorming, researching and interviewing techniques.

My first exposure to writing store profiles happened when I was taking a Retailing class as part of my Fashion Merchandising program at CSULA. I had to write a three-store profile for my Mid-term paper, so for the assignment, I chose three furniture businesses,  Civilization for the high end, Plummer’s for the mid-range, and a discount store for the low end. Throughout my writing career, I’ve duplicated the process I was taught to use, in this class, of researching a company before interviewing the owner or owners and sales staff, describing the interiors and exteriors of the site, describing the merchandise and displays, and explaining how they fit into the current retail climate.

Fabulous L.A. Store Displays

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FIDM Student Store-Bolts of fabric for sale

David's Bridal window display 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lasta Icelandic Fashion Shop

While working as a fashion columnist for Culver City News, in 2014, I wrote a store profile about Lasta Icelandic Fashion Shop (Lasta Icelandic Fashion Shop is a wonderful source for an individualist. It remains one of my favorite experiences as a writer.

Iceland was really “trending” in 2014, and the co-founder and major proponent of Icelandic and Nordic fashion, Helga Olaffsson, was a fascinating interviewee and businesswoman. Besides being a big fan of mystery writers Steig Larsson, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo and Karin Folsum, the other pop culture element that influenced my decision to write about Lasta were the T.V. shows, The Killing, Wallander, and Borgen. Finally, the reason this profile really stood out for me is the individuality of the designs represented and the lovely way they were displayed.

Testing Out My Hunter x Target Outfit at the “L.A. Zoo”

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My Zoo Outfit

Countdown to the Fieldtrip:

At first, I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the majority of the class I’ve been working with, as a Special Ed Instructional Assistant at Leo Politi Elementary School (LAUSD), had never been to the zoo. How could that be when going there is such a childhood rite of passage? When I was their age, in Kindergarten through Second Grade, my mother insisted on taking my brother and I to the L.A. Zoo, nearby Griffith Park, Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, Farmer’s Market and The La Brea Tar Pits. 

“For the kids around here, it’s a totally new thing, to go to the zoo,” said one of my co-workers. “They aren’t used to going to places like that.”

But this new generation, where constantly diddling on cell phones, wearing leggings as pants, and dropping out of school are the norm, the zoo is a foreign concept. As a representative of the baby boomer generation, whose childhood was far from perfect, I still felt it was my duty to share this one experience with them.

You Can Never Ask Too Many Questions

The L.A. Zoo

“Can we pet the animals?,” asked one of the students before our fieldtrip.

 Following a series of obstacles, our class finally started the countdown to our trip at the end of March. To prepare the students, for what they were about to see, I bought an animal board book at the Mar Vista Library Book Sale and gave it to them to read and study.

“Will we see spiders and snakes there?” asked a student one morning.

“Can we pet the animals?” another one asked.

The questions were endless, with the book becoming old before its time, from beloved overuse and rough treatment.

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Dressing Comfortably for the Big Day

Simultaneous to the field trip, I had to do an assignment for my FSH 628: Mobile & Social Media Journalism class on “Social Listening”. I chose the internet feedback about the Hunter x Target collaboration. For my research, I went to check it out, as an event at the Target on LaCienega and Jefferson. There were plenty of clothes available, in my size and style, so I ended up purchasing quite a bit.

The first outfit I wore was perfect for our big field trip day- a red, pink and white striped windbreaker over a white and orange sleeveless top and orange and white track pants, accessorized with a pink sun visor, cream cat-eye framed shades, white Levi’s sneakers, a white and pink flamingo print tote and an orange leather hobo bag.

In addition to walking long distances, at the zoo while looking at the animals, I also had to help maneuver one of our student in a  wheelchair when she needed to sit down, making comfort a necessity.

L.A. Zoo

“We didn’t get to see the hippos and the leopards!” some of the students complained at the end of our trip.                                                                                                                           

Walking in a well-organized, but a curious and active group, we saw the meerkats, a swan, ducks, lions, giraffes, snakes, spiders, exotic birds, turtles, tortoises, alligators, gorillas, chimpanzees and more.

“We didn’t get to see the hippos and the leopards!” some of the students complained at the end of our trip. “You’ll have to visit them the next time you come back, with your families,” I told them.

While waiting for the tram, after our lunch break, I met a little boy wearing a Junior Zookeeper outfit, complete with binoculars. He jumped up on the seating area and insisted on waiting for the tram despite his mother’s protests.

“He really knows what to do, and where to go at the zoo, doesn’t he?,” I said. “Oh yes, he’s been coming here ever since he was little,” his mother said. “We have a membership, so we can come any time we want, and stay for an hour or longer. It’s a great place to hang out.”

“It was the best day of my life,” said one of the teachers who went with us to the zoo.

Leo Politi Elementary School (;AUSD) (42)

Leo Politi Elementary School

A few days after the trip, I asked one of the teachers whose class went too, did he enjoy himself. “It was the best day of my life,” he said. I hope that’s how our students felt too, and it joins their other happy memories from this time.

Hunter x Target: Was it The Perfect Collaboration?

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Victoria Moore’s Hunter x Target Haul

 

Hunter x Target was the latest collaboration for both the traditional British fashion company and one of America’s most popular retailers. Since the debate started around April 14 and April 15, 2018, a lot of consumers, including myself, anxiously awaited its arrival.

Before using the mobile app, Hootsuite, I read various articles about the collaboration after searching for news trending stories on my News app. From the article, People Are Losing Their Mind After Target’s Hunter Boots Collab Sold Out Super Quickly by Stephanie McNeil on buzzfeed.com (https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/hunterxtarget) I saw quite a bit of gloating going on from Instagram users who shared selfies and photos of their new swag, while most Twitter users, who posted, complained, “they were unable to purchase anything because everything was sold out or made of inferior quality.”

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Hunter x Target Price Tags 

Visiting the Store

With such an unbalanced response, I decided to visit my local Target to see for myself what was going on with the collab. So on April 17 and April 18, 2018, I examined the Trend Spot section and was able to buy quite a few items, on my wishlist, and talk to a few customers.

Tuesday, while examining the existing boots, I did see one pair of the coveted rain knee-highs, but they were a man’s size 11, causing them to remain on the shelf. They were still there when I went back the next day. One of the two men I talked to, in the department, told me they were from Woodland Hills.

“There were more boots and shoes there than here. They also have more clothes too.”

–Customer I met at “Target”

“There were more boots and shoes there than here. They also have more clothes too,” one of them said.

On Wednesday, when I returned to get the rest of the clothes I liked, I talked to another customer. “I came from Santa Clarita to see what they had,” she said.

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Hunter x Target Haul Slideshow

Comparing the complaints from the lucky ones who at least snagged one item against those who didn’t I was able to judge more objectively and obtain my own significant haul. Later, I took some photos of it, then used the PicCollage app, before posting it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as my Hunter x Target haul. In opposition to all of the gloating, I responded with what I felt was a tasteful display of gratitude, at what I was able to buy. Since I always seem to luck out and enjoy these collabs I don’t think Target should change how they do them because it brings customers into the store and introduces a higher priced, more stylish brand, to a lower economic group of consumers.

Does An Opinion Make You a Writer?

“Should audience response shape what content newsrooms produce?”

–Dena Silver

No, I don’t believe audience response should shape the content newsrooms produce despite the fact that their input can help boost readership and alert advertisers to their involvement. Realistically, however, the audience/reader is reacting to information with an opinion from their own experiences which might be impacted by their age, cultural backgrounds, lifestyles, education and economic status.

For example, in the article Clothing and the Communication of Culture: The Sociology of  Fashion (http://www.articlemyriad.com/clothing-communication-culture-sociology-fashion/posted by Nicole Smith, on January 12, 2012, the author states, “By negotiating who’s the three levels of identity- (1) personal; (2) cultural; and (3) historical we can either bring ourselves closer to others or distance ourselves from them.” If a person “identifies as part of a particular group through a uniform as a late adopter of fashion trends” they’re going to respond differently than an “early adopter” who’s more innovative.

So, if you’re part of the former, who favors “dressing down” out of comfort, peer pressure, and budgetary restrictions, you might respond that it’s much easier to do so because it’s less expensive and stressful. If you’re more concerned with expressing your individuality, through your attire, however, you might respond that you prefer to “dress up” because it reflects pride and excellent manners. Either way, the responses of the respondents should be noted and possibly utilized for follow-up content, once their answers have been examined and researched further.

L.A. Women and Their Style

“I drew these fashion illustrations of various women I saw at, on and around the bus stop, because I liked their looks, and felt they represented very different and unique styles. They are: (1) an Hispanic woman wearing a mid-length skirt and brown suede boots; (2) an African-American woman in a white ribbed turtleneck and red plaid pants; (3) an older Caucasian woman in 1970s platforms; (4) a Korean woman in a pair of checked pants and a striped shirt; (5) a young African-American woman in a t-shirt and short-shorts; and (6) an African-American woman with a chic short hair do and oversized shades.

Future Plans: Finding a Wider Internet Audience for “Every Day Style: Fashion for the Mainstream”

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Thred Up Gear: Red and white checked gingham shirt with color blocked pants

On August 1, 2017 when I started my new blog, Every Day Style: Fashion for the Mainstream (https://www.victoriawordpress587.wordpress.com), and the accompanying website, Lookin’ Good, Feelin’ Good (https://www.lookingoodfeelingoodblog.wordpress.com) to help readers, and myself, coordinate clothing for daily activities and realistic budgets little did I know stores like Target and Walmart would step it up so much with such great buys for regular people, and online companies, like http://www.thredup.com, would offer the same type of quality second-hand merchandise found at Goodwill Thrift Stores and Council Thrift Shops.

After talking to a lot of people, at work and around the city, I kept hearing the same complaint about how difficult it was to find attractive clothing for plus sized women, older people and those with financial restrictions. Now it looks like there might be hope among the those listening in the industry. I hope to be one who is continuously on this track.

So far I’ve written about 10 blogs, and plan to add more about fashion coordination, great accessory finds and other related tips in the future. Recently I created a professional page on Facebook, “Keepin’ Up With Vicqui,”@victoria2thread (username) where I plan to add my updates about my blogs regularly.