On an almost-overfilled outdoor rack, brown and blue plaid flannels, oversized graphic t-shirts covered in indie band logos, baggy embroidered sweatshirts and unique patchwork jackets greet passersby with a kaleidoscope of bold fashion choices. Inside, warm light, energetic music and more racks of antique tops and pants welcome customers to Blue Bin Vintage.
As the peninsula’s newest vintage thrift store, Blue Bin Vintage has attracted customers not only from Palo Alto but also from neighboring cities since founders Ahmad Amin, Andrew Limos and Jason To opened its doors on Sept. 4 on Bryant Street downtown.
“There is nothing like what we do [selling vintage clothes] here in Palo Alto or on this side of the peninsula,” store manager Melissa Lopez said. “To get to somewhere like this, you have to drive up to San Francisco or down to San Jose. There was a gap in the market and we decided we could fill it.”
“We’re reworking it, taking out stains, fixing poles… just trying to give clothing new life so that it doesn’t go to a landfill.”
— Melissa Lopez, Blue Bin Vintage store manager
Unlike fast fashion companies that create and contribute to waste, Blue Bin aims to better the environment by connecting customers to sustainable, recycled clothing.
“If things don’t sell there [at thrift stores like Goodwill], that’s the last chance for this clothing,” Lopez said. “If it doesn’t get bought there, then it’ll go to a landfill and that’s something that we’re helping to prevent by giving it a new life. Either if we’re reworking it, taking out stains, fixing poles… just trying to give clothing new life so that it doesn’t go to a landfill.”
In the past decades, fast fashion trends have stimulated unethical practices in the fashion industry, contributing to climate change, according to The Atlantic.
“The trend cycles are getting even shorter and shorter each month, which is crazy,” Palo Alto High School junior Shiki Toyama said. “Thrifting is a very good bridge between affordability and sustainability.”
Thanks to its benefits, thrifting has recently gained popularity among students who wish to express themselves creatively through personal fashion choices.
“Thrifting is a very good bridge between affordability and sustainability.”
— Shiki Toyama, Paly junior
“I like to be the only one that’s wearing it [a piece of clothing],” Toyama said. “I really like having stuff that’s unique to me, and creating outfits off of that.”
Other students, like sophomore Austin Eng, feel proud to support moral fashion practices.
“I think thrifting is a great alternative to fast fashion,” Eng said. “Personally, I appreciate that thrifting is sustainable because it’s an excuse to buy more clothes without the guilt.”
For those who are just beginning to thrift their clothing, Eng advises them to approach the process without expectations and allow themselves to step outside their comfort zone with their purchases.
“Go thrifting to enjoy the randomness of possibly finding something that speaks to you,” Eng said.
Blue Bin Vintage is located at 520 Bryant St. in downtown Palo Alto.