In a smaller city like Winnipeg, it can be easy to run into someone wearing the same outfit as you, especially if you shop at a typical retailer. But one 17-year-old wants to help solve this problem.

Mia Carlin, better known as the owner of Groovy Gal Clothing, has run her online-based clothing business since she was 13 and wants to make thrifting easier for Winnipeggers.

As a long-time fashion lover, Carlin began experimenting with up-cycled and thrifted styles which have allowed her to grow her business as a sustainable curator.

“Sustainable fashion is important to me because I love fashion, but I also care deeply about the environment,” Carlin said. “Clothing trends are becoming very short-lived which means that even more clothing is ending up in landfills.”

By grouping her thrifted pieces into style bundles, like 90s prep or neutrals, Carlin said she is able to give her customers easy access to trendy clothing that they can purchase through her Instagram page.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store has grown in popularity as price hikes continue at Value Village./RAINAH UHL

While online shopping has grown in popularity, especially over the pandemic, a Winnipeg thrift lover like Tobin Rowland is choosing the thrift-only lifestyle and abandoning fast fashion.

Rowland said they no longer care about shopping for particular brands.

“My style revolves around matching patterns with colour blocking, so I’m free to choose solely on the basis of the outfit and not the store,” Rowland said.

“Clothing swaps are also popping off so it’s just about what style you associate yourself with.”

With thrifting’s popularity, came the recent price hikes. Rowland said they do not agree with the decision to make certain items more expensive, but they will continue to shop at different second-hand retailers.

“I know people like me are cause for the higher prices but it’s come to choosing the lesser evil,” Rowland said. “I choose not to pay for fast fashion but I don’t shame people that can’t afford Value Village’s recent prices.”

Carlin also noticed the price hikes but said this does not affect her business very much.

“Some pieces I profit off more than others so I always try to think how much I would personally be willing to pay,” Carlin said. “It’s just made me more conscious when thrifting.”

Groovy Gal Clothing will be selling pieces alongside other vendors at Winnipeg’s Lucky Girl Pop Up event on May 6 at the Centennial Concert Hall.