Music

Top 5 Unknown Classic Rock Bands

We all know the heavy hitter of classic rock, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Eric Clapton, to name a few but there must have been thousands of other great bands coming out around the same time right? Yes! Absolutely!

There were so many bands surfacing from the 60s-80s that got such little recognition! Labels were signing and pushing out records one after another during this golden age of rock and roll. If you weren’t getting signed to one of the major record labels, it was hard to get your name out there to the masses. In today’s article I am going to give you a top 5 list of my favorite lesser-known bands from that era. The list will be in no particular order.

If you’ve heard of these bands great for you! Leave your comments down below in the comments section!

Cold Blood

What a name right? Owning a record store sure has it’s perks; one of them being the ability to pick up a random record that has a cool cover just to hear what it sounds like. This is exactly what happened to me when I first saw the cover art on Cold Blood’s debut album “Cold Blood” from 1969.

Do you like Janis Joplin? A fan of Tower of Power? You’re in luck! Cold Blood has a combination of a powerhouse Janis Joplin style vocals with a funky TOP (Tower of Power) rhythm. In fact, Cold Blood played at the Fillmore West in SF and was even recommended by Janis herself! If you like the gospel style Funk hits, Cold Blood’s first couple albums will be right up your alley!

The band dissipated in the late 70s never really reaching billboard top charts. It’s really unfortunate because with the combination of Gospel lyrics, Joplin-esq vocals, and powerful full band funk jams, you would think they would have more recognition than they do. With only ~30K monthly listeners on Spotify today, they’ve been forgotten but are certainly not lost.

If you find yourself in a record shop and you see one of the early Cold Blood albums on the shelf do not hesitate to pick it up and give it a spin!

LOVE

The band is called Love. Founded in 1965, Love has a style and a sound that could withstand generations. Oftentimes described as Garage, Psychedelic, and folk– Love has that feel-good vibe that’s perfect for a chill day.

With incredible songwriter and leader Arthur Lee, the band came out with some early initial success, topping the top 40 hit “7 and 7 Is.” The band never really hit another top spot. My personal favorite from Love is the song titled “Everybody’s Gotta Live.” It’s a somewhat repetitive vocal loop that just hits the spot perfectly. Meaningful, powerful, and appropriate especially when considering the time period.

The band had several major split-ups and reunion attempts throughout the late 70s-90s but their hay-day will forever remain in the mid-late 60s. I would absolutely suggest giving them a try. With about 1 million monthly listeners today, they do have a larger following than most on the list. As a music appreciator, it’s all about the deep grooves.

It will be hard to locate a LOVE record at the local record store, but if you do happen to pick one up, cherish it.

Blind Faith

Okay, this is where the music buffs come in to criticize the article. Yes, I know Blind Faith is legendary, so much so, in fact, they are one of my top favorite groups of all-time. They just aren’t ever brought up in any serious discussion of top band lists EVER! Judging by their monthly listeners on Spotify, the people agree.

For those that don’t know, Blind Faith was an early supergroup featuring Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech. What an exclusive class of unbelievably talented artists to be on a top 5 unknown bands list!

Here’s the craziest part, they only made one album! The self-titled “Blind Faith” album came out in 1969 and produced a few exclusive singles. “Can’t Find My Way Home” will forever be solidified in the history books of classic rock. The best part about starting off listening to Blind Faith is the direction it will lead you by following each band member’s insinuating careers. Take Steve Winwood for example. This guy has played in some of the most iconic bands in music history and has remained somewhat behind-the-scenes.

Moby Grape

A band that has the sound you think of when you think of 60s rock with an added bit of progression would of course be Moby Grape. It shocks me that they, to this day, only have about 50K monthly listeners on Spotify.

Picture the beach boys if they had a bunch of hippy jam-banders in the group. Amazing guitar riffs, smooth west coast 60s vibe, and excellent harmonies. It’s a crying shame they didn’t have the same promotional backing that labels like Capital records could have given them. Shadowed by bands like Jefferson Airplane coming out around the same time, the potential for Moby Grape to be sitting atop the classic rock HOF list was there.

I would suggest searching a bit for some Moby Grape vinyl at your local thrift or record shop. You won’t be disappointed.

Quicksilver Messenger Service

Talk about a band with all the potential in the world coming out of — you guessed it — San Francisco in the mid 1960s. If you were around the area at the time there is no doubt that Quicksilver Messenger Service is one of your all-time favorite bands. But what happened to them?

The problem, I think, was the hard competition in the area at the time. Bands like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead were emerging in the same area and competing for the floor space at the Fillmore.

Quicksilver has a much more avant-garde garage band style with some experimental jazz tones. It was certainly novel at the time and sounds amazing today. Crazy to think that these were just kids making this music back then. Definitely pick up some Quicksilver and give it a try if you happen to come across it!

Synopsis

So there you have it! My personal list of unknown classic rock bands that definitely do not get the recognition they deserve.

Of course there are many more bands that could fit on a larger list of unknown or even under-appreciated bands and musicians, but at the moment I really don’t have time for that. Maybe sometime in the future I will expand upon them!

-Much Love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Art · Business · Community · Uncategorized

Why is Gender Neutral Clothing Important?

Listen people, it’s 2022. Clothing really has no business being gender specific! Taking a look at the newest fashion lines coming out will give you a perfect example of clothing androgyny and the progression we have made in the past couple decades.

In today’s article I’m going to explain why gender neutral clothing is important. I will cover freedom of expression, some of the challenges with gender neutral lines, the stigma, and where I think the future lies.

This is not an article forcing you to wear gender-neutral clothing or to make you, as a woman, dress like a man or vice versa. It is only my opinion based on what I have seen during my time in the clothing industry and an alignment of what our store Diversity Consignment believes in within our core mission.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression can be defined as : You have the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of your choice without interference and regardless of frontiers.

I will define freedom of expression within the clothing industry as the following : The ability to express oneself freely, without restraints, and voluntarily, through the clothing you choose to dawn regardless of specific constraints. Side note: I am not a proponent of blatant disregard for the sensitivities of specific cultures or the use of historical garments for appropriation.

Freedom of expression, especially within the confinement of the United States is a beautiful thing that should be embraced. One of the simplest ways to express oneself is through the clothing that one wears. Want to dress in Crayola colors? Go for it! Want to wear a plaid skirt with Dr. Marten boots? I say, you better take a picture and send it to us so we can promote it!

Clothing should not have gender constraints. They take away the very principle of freedom of expression that has been founded.

Challenges with clothing binarity

One of the major difficulties a lot of men, in particular, may find when clothing shopping in a gender neutral environment is sizing constraints. You see a cute skirt that you want to try on, but find out that the sizing is only constrained to XXS-L in “women’s” sizing. As a 6’4″ 240lb guy that can be a real challenge! What are the options out there?

The same can be said for women. The clothing companies do not take into consideration body shapes, differences, and tastes. There should be no reason why a skirt is not manufactured for men’s bodies as well as women’s. In fact, men have historically worn skirts as well as heels!

The simple fact is this — people come in all shapes, sizes, and with different interests. It’s time for retailers to embrace this.

Stigma

Another major challenge within the retail world is the stigma. It is challenging for opposing sexes to find a comfortable space where they can shop in the “other” section. There is a lot of separation between areas; men’s and women’s. When the general population sees a man in the women’s section they tend to do a lot of gawking and staring. That is super uncomfortable for that individual. The same can be said for women in the “men’s” section.

As we progress as a society, I must say, this is becoming less of an issue in specific geographical areas. The fact still remains that the stigma is continuously a huge issue that deserves recognition. Living in a diverse community of NYC will show a big difference in the stigma than an area in rural America. That is unfair for individual freedom of expression.

I want to explain a little bit about how clothing styles and sexuality corelate. They Don’t! Just because a man finds a certain blouse nice, does not mean that man is gay. If they are, great! Just because a woman is wearing a Carhartt top with Timberland boots does not mean that they are gay. It is simply an expression of taste through style. Period. Regardless, it’s honestly none of your business anyway so why should you even care??

The future of clothing androgyny

I, for one, am hopeful for the future of clothing and the elimination of stigma and judgement. I have already witnessed lines of bags and accessories that positively embrace gender neutrality. Many of the lines on the runway for 2022 showcase femme skirts on men as well as wide-leg “dad jeans” on women.

I am hopeful that more gender neutral environments will be opening up that decrease the divide. I really am not trying to be political in this article, as I believe that politics have nothing to do with freedom of expression and the comforts that should come with the concept.

We, at Diversity Consignment openly embrace gender neutrality and focus on creating a comfortable environment where men, women, and non-binary individuals can express themselves freely without judgement. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have seen burly, bearded men (prototypical essences of masculinity) trying on a dress and KILLING IT. I hope that we can continue in a progressive direction where everyone feels comfortable as a society.

-Much Love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

How to Style Yourself on a Thrift Store Budget

You may find it difficult to stay on trend without buying the newest releases coming out of the department stores. I’m here to tell you that it’s not only possible to stay on-trend, but even possible to become a trend-setter!

All it takes is a bit of knowledge on where to go and what to look for. If you’re creative, you may even be able to up-cycle and create new designs never before seen! Who says you can’t stay stylish on a thrift store budget??

I have been professionally thrifting for the past six or seven years (since the release of this article) and I can tell you first-hand that some of the most stylish people I know shop exclusively at second-hand stores.

What styles do you want to create?

Remember, styles tend to be cyclical. The new lines out today are almost certainly recreations of some style seen in the past. One of the best places to go to find a unique outfit from past couple decades would, of course, be at your local thrift store.

Today, designer brands are showcasing wide-leg pants and jeans, embezzled tops, leather, leather, leather! A perfect era of clothing to be looking for to find what’s hip today would be to try and source early 2000s-late 2000s brands. Miss me jeans, juicy couture hoodies, Marc Ecko cargo pants, are just a few brands that pioneered the styles of today. The greatest part? The thrift stores are huge honey-holes of early 2000s styles as people my age finally decided to donate their high school get-ups.

It doesn’t stop there. If you wanted to go for the Pharrell Williams look, I can guarantee there is a vintage fedora at your local thrift store just waiting for the perfect home. Take any pop icon or celebrity and there are plenty of similar outfits that can be found at the thrift. In fact, many YouTubers and vloggers have made it a fun activity to recreate celebrity styles through thrift store finds!

What about the designer brands?

There are soooo many designer brands at the thrift store! Don’t worry about not having your polo. Excellent brands can be found out there in abundance.

“I hate showing up to a party wearing the same thing as someone else.”

Well, you’re in luck! No more playing the game of who wore it better. When you style yourself sustainably, there’s no chance that you’ll show up to the wedding wearing the same dress as someone else! Yours might even be an incredible vintage 1960s floral gown you found at 1/10th the price!

It is time to get Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song out of your mind. Nobody is going to walk out of a thrift store wearing an antique fur coat and blinder-style sunglasses. You’re going to be frugal and find the same styles that are current today, only from the past. I, for one, think that’s way cooler than buying a new Givenchy top that you have to explain to everyone is legit.

She does look amazing though right?

Can you work a sewing machine?

If you can work your way around a sewing machine, you’re in luck! Countless people nowadays are reworking old clothing into new styles! All you have to do is type in “upcycling” into YouTube and you’ll find thousands of ideas of inspiration to cut and sew, dip dye, and tie dye your own creations!

Start doing something simple by watching and emulating a basic upcycling tutorial. You can get more advanced as your skills progress. It’s not only fun, but also a great way to become a style trend-setter in your local community!

Conclusion

Despite what you may think, you absolutely can find stylish trends at the thrift. Most of the time you’ll be able to pull out with an entire outfit easily under $30!

Try consignment shops to search through a more curated selection at a little higher price point. You can even find brand new styles at your local consignment shops at under clearance prices.

Don’t be like everyone else, feel free to dress in a unique way! Freedom of expression is one of the beautiful freedoms we have in this lifetime. It’s easy to express your creativity in the discounted racks of the thrift and consignment shops near you!

-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

The Potential Impacts of an Economic Recession on Thrift Stores

With thrifting on the rise, more people are spending frugally and saving what they have. One would think that this would be a great thing for the thrift industry, right? Yes, and no.

In today’s article I am going to explain to you a problem caused by an economic recession that could potentially impact the world of thrift: supply shortages.

The Problem

During tough economic times people tend to save money in many ways, one of which being decreased spending on superfluous purchases. The fact is this, the cost of goods is continuing to rise while the economy continues to fall. Clothing, upgraded furniture, and other luxury expenses will become unaffordable (if not already) to the average worker and therefore be an unnecessary expenditure. Why spend money on clothing when gas, electrical bills, and other necessities are piling up?

Okay, I get it. People may not want to buy clothing at retail stores, that’s a good thing for thrift stores, isn’t it?

Not so fast. While people may be turning to thrift stores to make their clothing and household purchases, they will not be so quick to get rid of the things in their closet. If we hold onto what we have, we won’t really need to get more, right? Here lies the problem.

Thrift Store Supply Shortages

While it may be a great idea to shop at thrift stores, we need to remain mindful of how they get their supplies; from us! In today’s day and age, we have become so engrossed with spending, buying, accumulating, and storing. What happens when we hit a hard recession that forces us to hold onto what we have? We make the decision to hold onto that old couch for a couple more years instead of upgrading and donating the old one to a non-profit.

Thrift stores will suffer. They rely so heavily upon us to supply their stores with donations. Those donations essentially turn into charitable organizations being funded when they sell their inventory to the general public. What we will be faced with (and already are beginning to see) is a recession that underserves donations to thrift stores. You can’t sell what you don’t have!

Without consumer spending going to non-profit thrift stores, many services available to those in need will suffer greatly. Aids relief, funding for jobs for people with disabilities, housing services, and a myriad of other publicly funded services will take the hit as well. Of course, this is a terrible situation.

I’m not trying to be Mr. Doomsday prepper or trying to convince you that the world is coming to an end. I’m simply reminding you that there is an entire industry of charitable organizations that are funded from our contributions; both buying and donating. We need to wake up to the possibilities of the near future!

The Answer

I recently read an article (I can’t remember the source) that was outlining several thrift stores in the Pittsburgh area significantly impacted by the recession-hoarding mentality. They are suffering from lack of inventory because people in the community are holding onto what they have, as opposed to donating it and keeping the thrift ecosystem in motion. My answer to the problem is simple.

Switch the consuming mentality from buying new to buying used. I know a lot of you reading this article will already be on board with this. I am hoping that those who find buying used garments and household items “repulsive” will find under-served charities more repulsive.

You, as a privileged American citizen (assuming you live in the US) can feel the same comforts in having something that is “new” when you purchase second-hand. We thrifters call it “new-to-you.” Now, you can upgrade or replace what you have with something new-to-you and donate what you no longer need. Trust me when I say it feels just as good, if not better. Thus, saving the charitable organizations from supply shortages and simultaneously supporting a good cause that benefits those in need.

You’re welcome.

-Much love, Ian Drake- Diversity Consignment

Business · Community

How Branding Adds Value

Branding is a great way to add value to your products or service. In fact, I would say that it is the number 1 way to separate your products from becoming a commodity.

You could be upcycling, buying-to-sell, creating something new from scratch, or even selling yourself! The same principles apply. You could even be selling the same exact thing as somebody else! Honestly it doesn’t really matter what you are marketing, the most important thing is to separate yourself from your competition.

The only sure-fire way to separate yourself or your products is through branding. In this article I am going to explain to you the different types of value that you add by creating a solid brand.

Elements of a Brand

The following is a list of some elements to focus on when building a brand:

  • Logo
  • Service
  • Environment
  • Quality
  • Marketing
  • Presentation
  • Cause Association
  • Community Efforts

All of these elements must align when establishing a quality brand. You cannot have marketing that doesn’t corelate with your community efforts. All elements within a brand need to work together seamlessly.

How Branding Helps you Increase Prices

Why are people willing to spend more on a shampoo with a certain label on it over another that does essentially the same thing? There is a lot that goes into a purchasing decision. Does it smell better? Is the packaging more eye catching?

A commodity is defined as “a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee.”

So how can one coffee be priced at $1.50 and another coffee be priced at $5.50? The answer is simple. Brand. Sure, one may taste different than the other, but the simple fact is that coffee is coffee. The way to get your products or service separated from simple commodity economics is to create a well-established, trustworthy brand. Starbucks coffee offers an environment including a status symbol that is completely different than your local gas station coffee.

The separation of prices becomes synonymous with the brand associated with it. Quality is oftentimes seen in terms of pricing. If you determine that your products or service are worthy of a higher price point, prove it through differentiation. Taste, environment, smell, technique, are all ways you can differentiate your products or service. Teach people the difference about your brand by including it on your labels, tags, or website.

You can’t just put the price higher and hope that people will be willing to pay for it without any sort of reasoning or differentiation behind it.

How Branding Builds Loyalty

Humans, by nature, become attached to certain things. Once we try it and like it we tend to pick that product again over others when given the choice. Once you have established a trusted relationship with your customers, you add value by creating a life-long relationship.

With so many commodities out there in the world to choose from, how is it possible that a company like Coca-Cola can retain the top spot in the cola industry? The answer is brand loyalty. Sure they have more money than god, but the marketing that they have done has attached Coca-Cola to more than just soda. You see the logo and you automatically get reminded of good times.

It is significantly better for your business to focus more effort on retaining customers than finding new ones. Your brand needs to stick in people’s minds and remind them of something. This is an element and good side-effect of quality branding efforts.

Conclusion

It can be overwhelming establishing a new brand. The most important thing, in my mind, is to just start and develop things as you go. My advice to you is to take it one step at a time. It takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself as a quality, trusted, differentiated brand.

Avoid becoming the “cheapest” option out there. This can be a good way to get exposure without any effort but will have a lot of negative consequences including becoming an unbranded commodity. Over time people have no choice but to assume your products or services are cheap and will eventually go with a different option.

Time and effort are very hard to quantify until you reach the point of becoming a well-established trustworthy brand. Then, and only then, will you see the added values of branding. Put a tag on it.

-Much Love, Ian Drake- Diversity Consignment

Business · Thrifting

What Types of Clothing Should I Bring to Consignment Shops

You’ve got a closet full of clothing you’re trying to get rid of but you don’t know exactly what qualifies for a consignment shop. This is a common question that we, at Diversity Consignment, get asked, “What types of things do you take?”

In this article, I’m going to try my best to cover what types of clothing to bring to a consignment shop. Many of these principles will apply to a broader range of consignment shops in general.

Condition

Generally speaking, most consignment shops will take a heavy consideration into the condition of the clothing being brought in. Consignment shops like to have an assortment of new or gently worn pieces. Clothing with holes, stains, or odors will almost certainly be denied from a consignment shop.

What does the term gently used mean? That is a good question! I know that this can be a subjective topic but I will clarify. Gently used, in terms of clothing or accessories, would mean that the items in question do not have obvious signs of wear. Some consignment shops prefer things to look new, but typically the level of gently used should be fine and accepted.

For us at Diversity Consignment, we use this general rule to apply to most modern or more common items that we see come through. The exception to the rule for us would be things that are very valuable, vintage, or rare. Of course, vintage items can come with all types of wear from the years of wear and tear that add a patina or extra character to the piece.

If you want to know what constitutes as a vintage item, feel free to check out our previous article titled; What Qualifies as Vintage?

What Kinds of Brands do Consignment Shops Look For?

This particular chapter on brands is truly where things get a little tricky. The general answer to what types of brands consignment shops take is that it depends on the store in question.

Some consignment shops pride themselves on only taking “luxury” items. A quick review of the store’s website should give you an idea of the type of consignment shop in question. Another way to see if the brand fits in with the store’s selection is to go to the shop itself! Take a look around at the racks and get an idea of the type of vibe.

It can be a waste of time and effort to try to get your clothes into a consignment shop that simply doesn’t carry those types of brands. From a consignment shop’s perspective, it can be a bit awkward having that conversation. It’s best to just avoid it in the first place by doing a little research.

Here at Diversity Consignment, the only brands we absolutely exclude are fast-fashion brands. Forever 21, Primark, Shein to name a few. We go more by what the next chapter will cover; style.

What Types of Styles do Consignment Shops Take?

Consignment shops, unlike charity thrift stores, will be looking for more current or selective styles. This also depends on the store in question but it is almost guaranteed that an unbranded, basic tee with no pattern is not going to be accepted at a consignment shop.

The vast majority of consignment shops will be looking for current styles. This can be difficult when it comes to second-hand clothing. If you have some stuff that you were gifted or purchased and you later decided, “It’s really not my style”, then a consignment shop may be the perfect place to bring it.

Here at Diversity Consignment, we tend to do things a little differently. We like to look ahead towards the future; analyzing what is on-trend for the upcoming season and do our best to try to recreate those styles. We focus on vintage and contemporary styles and a lot of times we can recreate future styles based on mixing and matching past styles of a similar nature.

What Types of Things Will Consignment Shops Deny?

Right off the bat, here is a list of things that a consignment shop is guaranteed to deny:

  • Shoes that show major signs of wear
  • Clothing with stains
  • Clothing with holes
  • Stretched out fabric that compromises the original shape of the garment
  • Snags/pulls
  • Clothing with body odor
  • Discoloration from sun damage or fading
  • Missing buttons
  • Faulty zippers

Use this as a guide for your closet when determining what would certainly be denied from a consignment shop.

Conclusion

Consignment shops are amazing sustainable place to sell your clothing. It is always a good feeling when your clothing makes the cut at your local consignment shop! At the same time, it can be pretty discouraging when they aren’t accepted; I understand that.

I would urge that you don’t take these types of denials personally. Most consignment shops understand their demographics and need to curate their stores based on what they think they can sell. Do your research into the exact type of place that you’re thinking about bringing your stuff as they can differ significantly.

-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Community · Thrifting

Is Thrifting for Clothing a Good Idea?

Sounds pretty generic right? The basic answer I can give is that it depends on your intent and the way you go about thrifting.

Should I be thrifting more? What positive effects does thrifting have on the environment? I hate the idea of buying used stuff! Thrifting definitely has some pro’s and con’s you may never have even thought about.

In today’s article titled “Is Thrifting for Clothing a Good Idea” I am going to lay out some parts of thrifting that you may never have considered. We will cover thrifting to sell, the impacts of “thrift store depletion” and the effect thrifting has on the planet.

If you’re new to the page and want to get an idea on the basics of thrifting and how to get started as a thrifter, I suggest you read our previous article called “How to Get Started as a Thrifter.

Is Thrifting-to-Sell a Good Idea?

Thrifting-to-sell has seriously taken off in the years since I began my personal consignment businesses. Early on, it was not very common to see younger people strolling through the door looking for “grail” pieces at “flip-worthy” prices. Now, more and more, we see this as an everyday occurrence. But the question is this; is thrifting-to-sell a good idea?

My answer to that question is yes, if done properly and mindfully. Thrifting-to-sell can be a great way to make money, recycle, curate, and even upcycle!

Upcycle: reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

The danger can come into play when you are not being mindful about what you are sourcing. An example of what I mean would be sourcing only plus-sized or extra small clothing for upcycling because you get more fabric for what you spend. This results in leaving minimal to no plus-sized or extra small clothing for people who shop at discounted places for themselves to wear. Of course, this is not being mindful, and has in fact, created a huge lack of plus-sized clothing being available to those that need it today.

Another example of not being mindful while thrifting-to-sell would be wiping out a store of all of the bottom priced inventory. Yes, I know we are trying to make a buck by thrifting-to-sell but you have to be aware of the fact that people rely on the thrift stores to buy clothing for themselves and for their families.

The Effects of Thrift Store Depletion

This may seem obvious to a lot of people but for those who don’t know what I mean, I will explain.

As covered in the previous chapter, thrifting-to-sell is probably the main contributor to thrift store depletion. Thrift store depletion is the term I will use for when a thrift store has been depleted of a large amount of any given category. It could be plus-sizes, all bottom priced items, or even a certain category of clothing.

The major downside to thrift store depletion is that it creates a void for the people who rely on the thrift stores to clothe themselves or their families. I know you may be thinking “why would someone need a 1992 Nirvana concert tee?” Well, the answer is simple; it’s really just a t-shirt to everyone except yourself and those willing to spend more on it.

More and more frequently are instances coming up in which people can’t find anything good or quality at thrift stores. The quality garments are being scooped away as soon as they hit the rolling racks and the only things left are fast fashion products or ugly dresses in sizes small and medium. It’s really not fair to those in need and it’s starting to get a little out of hand.

Is Thrifting Good for the Planet?

Again, my answer to this question is going to be yes; thrifting is good for the planet.

It keeps clothing from being tossed away into the garbage and ultimately ending in landfills where it is either burned or buried. It also slows down the production of fast-fashion brands pounding out millions of articles of clothing by the minute to the outstretched hands of over-consumers.

The life cycle of the clothing alternatively to thrifting is not a pretty one. Imagine a world where clothing is being produced in under-paid labor facilities, worn a few times, and then tossed into the garbage to rot.

The charity thrift stores that allow us to thrift also donate a portion of the proceeds they make to worthy causes. It is good to support the thrift stores regardless of your intent, but don’t take advantage of them.

Conclusion

To be perfectly honest with you I am getting sick of the question “why do they need an Armani jacket?” Well Mr. or Miss “privileged”; they don’t, and neither do you. Nobody needs an “Armani jacket” but some people simply need a jacket and could care less what the brand is. It’s not like the person who donated it brought it in for only you to take. In fact, if they wanted something for it other than good faith, they would have brought it to a different type of store!

end rant.

The point is this; thrifting is a good idea. You just need to be mindful about certain things. Thrifting-to-sell is totally fine, the money you spent goes to a good cause. You can make some money while supporting a good cause! Thrifting for curation of your closet is fine as well; you can get some dope $h!t you normally wouldn’t be able to afford! Thrifting to upcycle is also a sustainable way to make new creations!

Just remember, everything in moderation. There are people who would be better off if you didn’t clear our all the plus sizes or extra small sizes to feed your upcycling machine and people who need clothing to be priced affordably to support their families. Keep it to what you need or look towards a less harmful supplier of goods.

-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Thrifting

What Qualifies as Vintage?

You keep hearing that vintage is where it’s at but you really don’t understand what makes an article of clothing vintage vintage, or as those in the industry call it “true vintage.”

For the first half of my career in the consignment industry, I was in the same place as you. I focused primarily on sourcing designer pieces and had no true knowledge of what vintage clothing was, so don’t worry! It’s time to take a crash course in the vintage marketplace. This can be a sensitive topic for people who dedicate their lives in the vintage game. If you want to be a snob about it, the comments section below would be a great place to toss on the gloves.

I’m here to give you a basic understanding of what vintage means in terms of clothing. This will include the following; what dates qualify as vintage, single stitch tees, and what the future holds for vintage clothing.

Classification

Prior to getting started in dating vintage clothing, I think it’s important to give a little history on the term “vintage” itself. Prior to recent times (the past hundred years), the word vintage was predominantly used in the wine industry. When a wine was referred to as vintage, it meant that the wine was at least 20 years old.

“Aging like fine wine” is a common saying meaning aging well. This concept has been applied to clothing since the mid 20th century. It may seem novel today, but trust me when I say that your parents may have also been deep in the vintage game. Top celebrities of prior generations were also known to rock vintage couture.

I, personally, will accept the term true vintage being applied to any article of clothing produced at least 20 years in the past. This means that every year there will be a new production line of clothing being classified as “true vintage.” Some may disagree (including wikipedia) and say that true vintage only applies to items pre-dating the year 2000 or a range starting at 30 years in the past. In my opinion, 30 years doesn’t allow enough growth for the vintage market we live in today.

That being said, if you have a Dead & Co. Liquid Blue tie dye tee with the year 2002 imprinted on it, I would classify that as a vintage piece. In fact, these garments are now being appropriately labeled as Y2K pieces. Now, if you have a 2010 reproduction AC/DC t-shirt; I would not yet qualify that as vintage.

What is a Single Stitch T-Shirt?

A single stitch t-shirt is actually something that is pretty easy to identify. When you look at a t-shirt seamline by the cuff of the sleeve or at the base of the shirt (where the material was folded over to create a seamless ending) you will see 1 of 2 things. You may see a double seamline or a single seamline.

A single seamline (single stitch) does not always mean that a t-shirt is vintage. The same can be applied to a double seam line. I, personally, have seen hundreds, if not thousands of single stitch t-shirts throughout my career. Some brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Polo Ralph Lauren will actually include single stitch seamlines in modern-day t-shirts, while some Liquid Blue shirts and concert t-shirts that pre-date the 2000s will have double stitching.

More commonly than not, a single stitch t-shirt will be vintage. Brands that were commonly manufacturing t-shirts within the vintage era were using the single stitch method of production. Some brands that are commonly seen on true vintage t-shirts are; Screen Stars, Fruit of the Loom, and Hanes.

Made in USA

Another simple identifier for a true vintage article of clothing is the tag including the manufacturing location as “Made In USA” in some form or another.

Up until the late 90s and early 2000s most of the clothing seen worn by the general population was manufactured in America. I’m not going to go into detail about manufacturing being outsourced to other countries outside of the United States and the ethics involved. There has been a lot of coverage in this subject to the point where it is considered common knowledge.

The point is this; when you are out sourcing for true vintage, a helpful identifier is the piece being made in the U.S. Again, this is not always true. Many leather garments in the 90s, 80s, and prior were manufactured in Korea, Pakistan, and other areas. Hong Kong was also a common manufacturing place for designer brands such as Christian Dior and YSL in the 80s.

Oftentimes, someone “back in the day” needed to actually travel outside of the United States to source garments that were produced elsewhere. So, if you do come across an article of clothing that has all the tell-tale signs of being true vintage and was manufactured outside the U.S. don’t be so quick to count it out!

The Future of Vintage

This is where things get a little tricky. The future of vintage is starting to look a little shaky. The main reason is due to the quality of clothing being produced today.

With the rise of brands within fast-fashion industry producing poorly manufactured articles of clothing, I’m not even sure that clothing will hold together for at least 20 years. It’s almost literally being manufactured out of trash. Actually, I think trash might be manufactured stronger than some of the materials being used today. So what does that mean for the vintage game?

What I foresee this meaning for the vintage game is two-part.

The first option is this; we will really only be able to qualify aging designer pieces as vintage. To clarify, high end designer brands or collectible brands such as BAPE, Comme des Garcons, and Gucci will certainly withstand the wear and tear of time and will cross into a vintage era. Other brands will not be desirable enough to cross into that exclusive class.

The second option for “other” brands will be to become classified into eras. Think about what Y2K style has become. I really feel like this is the only other option. Maybe with more time they can cross over into the general classification of vintage, but I feel like we will have to re-define what the timeframe for vintage is at that point.

Conclusion

Vintage can be difficult to identify depending on the piece in question. Some easy identifiers are single-stitch and Made in USA tags but don’t automatically assume that every article that falls into these groups is true vintage.

The future of vintage is looking bleak. It’s hard to imagine classifying a Forever 21 top manufactured in 2014 as a “vintage piece” and I don’t think that it will ever be. I think it would fall under some variation of 2010’s style.

With this in mind, it will be ever-difficult to source true vintage pieces. The more time that goes by, the harder it will be to find vintage clothing in the wild. Hold on to what you have! Values may continue to reach all-time highs.

I realized while writing this article that there really is so much involved in the classification. Too much, in fact, to include in a basic tutorial. Maybe at some point I’ll write a book on the subject.

-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

What Does Consignment Mean?

Consignment shops have been around for a while now but it still remains a sort of underground concept. I frequently come across people, talking a little about what I do for work, and come to find out they have never heard of a consignment shop!

I think that due to the rise in popularity of second-hand shopping, the term “consignment” is being thrown around a little more than it had in the past. People are starting to talk about the concept but may not fully understand it. The differentiation of a consignment store with a charity thrift store can be a little gray and I’m here to shed a little light on the subject.

Within this article, I will be providing you with the difference between a consignment shop and a charity thrift store. I will also go over the pros and cons of working with or shopping at a consignment shop and the different varieties of consignment stores.

Consignment Shop vs. Charity Thrift Store

Here’s where the confusion tends to lie. Many people like to blend the term consignment with the term thrift and in a lot of ways; a consignment shop is a type of thrift store.

My definition of a thrift store is any place where you can buy second hand goods at a discounted price. Within this threshold, consignment shops do fit under the blanket of thrift stores.

The major difference is comparing consignment shops to charity based thrift stores. Consignment shops are typically for-profit stores that return a percentage of sales to the consignor (person who drops-off inventory). Charity thrift stores are non-profit and proceeds directly benefit a dedicated cause. I say typically because there are definitely consignment shops that are partial charity stores or may donate a certain percentage of sales to any given charity.

At Diversity Consignment we frequently have incentives that directly benefit certain charities. For instance, in the month of June (pride month) we dedicated the proceeds of our “Buy The Pound” area to go towards Boston Glass, a local leader in social justice and community based services for progressing diversity and inclusion.

What to Expect at a Consignment Shop

Consignment shops are beautiful places that vary in shapes, colors, and offerings. They can range from higher-end priced items to bargain basement prices. I am going to keep this section more generalized and talk about what you can typically expect to see at a consignment shop.

Unlike a charity thrift store that takes in donations, consignment shops will have a more curated selection of items. They take in what are called “consignments.” Consignments are items that have been hand selected by the team working at the store. They generally will be more specific to the audience they are trying to reach; the customer base.

You can expect to find a larger selection of quality items that are free of holes, stains, snags, or even odors. This is a general rule of thumb but again, depending on the consignment shop, this can vary. I am also primarily referring to clothing consignment shops. You can also expect to see a lot of inventory that is brand new! Some consignment shops even take the boutique approach and source their own brand new inventory.

Different Types of Consignment Shops

The best thing about consignment shops are that there are so many different types! It is also pretty easy to find one within your local community or general area.

Here’s a list of some of the types of consignment shops I know about, personally, within the Boston area.

-Boutique Style- Covet Boston

-Sporting Goods- Family Sports Consignments

-Furniture Consignment- Second 2 None Furniture

-High End Designer- Castanet Consignment

-Unique Styles / Vintage- Raspberry Beret

-Men’s Clothing- ID Drakes Consignment

-Music Consignment, Vintage, Local Art, Men’s, Women’s, Non-Binary Clothing, Records- Diversity Consignment 😉

As you can see, there are a whole lot of different types of consignment shops, all with the same premise in mind; slightly used or new goods where the consignor gets a percentage of what the items they bring in sell for. There are also consignment shops for things like tools and power equipment. A quick google search will provide you with all the information you need!

The Pro’s and Con’s of Consignment Shops

The pro’s and con’s can vary greatly depending on the specific store you’re interested in. At times, prices can fluctuate greatly for one reason or another. Location and quality of the inventory can be a couple of the factors.

If you’re looking for a specific item or one with many size variations; consignment shops may not be the ideal place for you. They usually only have one of each item on the racks or shelves and there’s not much hope that they will get another one anytime soon.

Some of the pro’s can also be some of the con’s. The fact that everything is 1 of 1 and unique can also be a great thing! Don’t worry about someone else showing up to the wedding wearing the same dress you purchased from a consignment shop! Also, I can guarantee that you saved the most money with your frugal purchases.

Consignment shops can also be a great way of getting a little money back into your wallet! When you bring things in and they sell, you get a percentage of what they sell for! Percentages can vary from consignment shop to consignment shop as well as consignment periods (the allotted time for your items to sell). Don’t expect to make a living buying and selling at consignment shops, it’s a great and sustainable means for recycling clothing and household items, but not a huge money-making venture.

That being said, another great aspect of consignment shops is the direct link to sustainability. I go over this frequently in other articles. Consignment shops aren’t going to save the planet by any stretch, but they are certainly helping things move in the right direction. Keep clothing and household items out of landfills and take them to your local consignment shop!

Conclusion

Consignment shops are great. You can find a wide variety of different types and styles that have all kinds of unique treasures to find.

Expect to pay a bit more, but have a more curated selection than the local charity thrift shops. Most of these businesses are family operated so do your best to support them. They help out the community in many ways; one of which being providing the people a place to sell their used things.

Staying sustainable is something we all need to do a better job at.

-Much Love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Community · Thrifting

Top 5 Best (Charity) Thrift Stores in Boston

I know what you’re thinking. What is a consignment shop doing writing a list of the best thrift stores in Boston? Well I wish I had a solid answer for that question other than this; I felt like doing it.

Now, within this list, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite thrift stores in the Boston area with one caveat. I’m going to start the list by shamelessly plugging Diversity Consignment. That’s it! The rest of the list will be full blown charity shops, that, in my opinion are the best places to go thrifting. I will be ranking them in terms of price, selection, and cleanliness.

When you’re done reading the list feel free to give some shout-outs of places that are your favorites in the comment sections below. (This is a list of Charity Thrift Stores and does not include specialty second-hand stores such as vintage or consignment)

Diversity Consignment

Of course I have to put Diversity Consignment at the top! After all, we did create it!

Aside from that, it’s a fun and eclectic experience just walking in! Vintage TV in the window, crazy awesome window splash outside, N64, air hockey, records and clothing! I mean…come on…. Not to mention, we also host our seasonal Fashion Show (next one in October 😉 ) and showcase local artist work on the walls!

Enough about that, let’s move on to the real list. The best (charity) Thrift Stores in Boston.

Goodwill Hyde Park: 892 River St, Hyde Park, MA 02136

Ahh yes, Goodwill. To start the list off on the right foot I’m going to introduce you to the newest Goodwill to open in Boston; Goodwill Hyde Park. I must say, not all Goodwill’s are treated equally. This one in particular ranks highest on the list in all 3 categories.

Goodwill Hyde Park is well run. You can find a lot of treasure here! Now, it may be speculation, but I have heard that whenever a new Goodwill comes to town, they tend to fill it with gems right off the bat. I know that sounds like hear-say and it probably is, but what would 2022 be without a little conspiracy?

Either way, this Goodwill, in particular isn’t overcrowded with people. In fact, I’m not too sure that many people really know about it! (Cat’s out of the bag now). The prices are excellent! The way they should be. I have yet to see a coat or jacket being priced over $20. For those of you who thrift around a lot; you know coats and jackets can get a bit pricey depending on where you are. Good for you Goodwill Hyde Park; good for you.

5/5 cleanliness, 5/5 selection, and 5/5 price.

Boomerangs Cambridge: 563 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Boomerangs Cambridge is a frequent winner on any top-tier list of best thrift stores, and for good reason! The place is electric! They have an excellent staff of cool cats, a funky atmosphere, and support an excellent cause. Taken from the Boomerangs website:

“Boomerangs is an award-winning family of thrift stores owned and operated by AIDS Action, New England’s leading provider of HIV prevention and wellness services. Serving the Greater Boston area. Boomerangs features a variety of high-quality new, vintage, and gently-loved merchandise to provide critical funding to AIDS Action in partnership with Fenway Health. Together, this partnership serves to enhance the well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community through health care, education, research, and advocacy. All proceeds from Boomerangs directly helps fund work to prevent new HIV infections and improve the lives of thousands of people already living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts.”

They also have a super-fun TikTok account. How could you not love them!?

Cleanliness: 5/5, Prices: 4/5, Selection: 4.5/5.

Global Thrift: 322 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453

I know what you’re thinking, Waltham isn’t Boston! You know what? You’re right, it’s not. But it’s close by and this place is worth a visit!

According to their website: “Global Thrift is a volunteer driven thrift store where all profit goes into the international work of The Good Foundation. Currently all funding goes into creating businesses, providing jobs and rehabilitating medical clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

That’s a good cause! Aside from the cause, it’s a pretty good thrift store too! They have everything from a vast selection of clothing, shoes, household items, and electronics. The household items and electronics section is small, but it’s there at least.

They do host in-store pop-ups for local artists and creators which I am a big supporter of. I have been there on several occasions and was able to come away with quite a bit of really good finds at really good (Goodwill esq.) prices! The downside, according to a few reviews, is that they frequently switch the layout around in a somewhat confusing manner, and they seem to be a little hit or miss in terms of pricing.

Cleanliness 3.5/5, selection 4/5, price 4/5.

Boomerangs JP: 716 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

You better know I wasn’t going to make a Best (Charity) Thrift stores in Boston without tossing out a couple Boomerangs locations!

A local fan favorite, Boomerangs JP just has it all. Incredible staff, an ever-changing selection, and best of all, the top media selection of all thrift stores! By media I mean CDs, books, and other various media types. They also have the best window display in the neighborhood and always keep it fresh! You can even bid on the items in the window!

I would also like to say that the selection of furniture within this particular location also has the other thrift stores beat. They don’t seem to have the largest space in terms of sq. ft. but they seem to organize it really well in terms of furniture display. If you’re looking for that statement piece, look no further than Boomerangs JP!

The staff is super friendly and the overall atmosphere is eccentric (which I love). It really is like a museum to see the unique treasures they get in so frequently!

cleanliness 4.5/5, selection 5/5, price 4/5

Urban Renewals Boston: 630 American Legion Hwy, Roslindale, MA 02131

This place has to be the most hit or miss of all thrift stores on the list.

First of all, the store is 100% cash only. A major drawback if you ask me! They do have an ATM on site, but what a pain to get charged an extra fee to withdraw money!

The big draw to this store is definitely the price points. I mean in 2022 to only pay .99c for anything is insane! Not to mention, they frequently have 50% off sales so you may even get lucky and score something for only .50c!

Another big draw to this store is the size of it. It is literally massive. That being said, I do have a difficult time with thrifting burnout; sifting through a mile long T-Shirt rack. On top of that, I rarely find anything I want to take home with me. I get that the price points are insane, but it always seems like all the good stuff gets taken before I get there.

I think there’s a lot of “thrifting” buzz around this place so it’s never empty. There are hordes of people, pretty much at all times, ruffling through the never-ending racks.

cleanliness 3.5/5, selection 3/5, price 5/5

Conclusion

There you have it! My opinion on the best (charity) places to go thrifting in Boston! Have any thoughts or want to shout out your favorite charity thrift spot? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list to get updates when we post new articles! Remember, keep buying used stuff!

-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment