Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

35° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement

Shopping secondhand in Evanston: Beyond Sherman Ave.

Shopping+second-hand+in+Evanston+is+an+affordable+option+for+many+customers+%E2%80%94+but+it+can+also+be+a+way+to+give+back+to+the+community+the+stores+rely+on.+
Zhizhong Xu/The Daily Northwestern
Shopping second-hand in Evanston is an affordable option for many customers — but it can also be a way to give back to the community the stores rely on.

For JoAnn Sylvano, store manager of the YWCA Shop for Good in Evanston, shopping second-hand can both be socially and wallet conscious.

“Pre-loved clothing,” she said, “is a win-win.” 

Shopping second-hand in Evanston is an affordable option for many customers — but it can also be a way to give back to the community the stores rely on. 

The YWCA Shop for Good women’s boutique, located at 820 Dempster St., donates proceeds to the YWCA’s domestic violence shelters. Along with providing resources to families it works with, the center also teaches and “empowers” women, Sylvano said. 

“I wanted to make a solution and do something that’s meaningful,” she said of her work with the YWCA. “With the money that we raise, the women have a second chance in life and be independent.” 

The store was formerly named Crowded Closet, but changed its name on Sept. 14. 

Though the shop used to run on consignment, it’s now fully donation-based — a model Sylvano said is more affordable. A typical woman’s blouse ranges from $12 to $28, but the shop has a marked-down designer and non-designer section. 

The boutique attracts mostly Evanston locals, but Sylvano said they are able to  reach many different generations. She is aiming to gain more Northwestern students. 

“I feel like I needed something with meaning, “ Sylvano said. “So many companies mass produce.”

On campus, NU Thrift creates an affordable pop-up thrift store three times a year. The group started in 2019 because of a lack of affordable thrift stores nearby. All clothes are $3 and come from student donations, ‘Cats Closet, and Junior League of Evanston-North Shore Thrift House. 

All proceeds have gone to local activist organizations, such as the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Chicago Abortion Fund. 

Although on-campus, club president and Communication senior Marlene Alanis said the pop-up store sees students and non-students alike. 

“It was intended to be a resource for all students, but specifically, with (first generation low income) students in mind,” Alanis said. 

Similarly, Stepping Out On Faith Consignment Shop on 1632 Orrington Ave welcomes a full range of customers, from high-school students to retirees, all equally likely to buy and sell. 

From modern clothes to ‘70s styles to vintage accessories, store owner Vivian Killebrew says that “you can find a little bit of everything.” 

“The bottom line is everything is affordable,” Killebrew said. “Consignment, resale, used (clothing) is the way to go because you get a bigger bang for your buck. Nine times out of 10, you get a better quality and they’re not throw-away clothes.”

Killebrew said the store relies on a 60% to 40% split between the store and the consignors, and items get marked down 10% every 30 days. 

Despite a different business model than their donation-based counterparts, Stepping Out On Faith has the same goal of promoting secondhand items. The store donates unsold clothes that aren’t picked to Connections for The Homeless, a social service organization that assists unhoused people in Evanston. 

With Evanston’s office workers going remote since the pandemic, Killebrew has noticed more students coming in. 

“This generation gets thrifting, and I love it,” Killebrew said. “Consigning, I would say, is a little bit more upscale, but at the end of the day it’s all thrifting. Don’t let the fancy names confuse you.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @shreyasrin   

Related Stories: 

Students Struggle to Find Affordable Thrifting Options in Evanston

‘Until Justice Just Is’: Evanston residents unite against racism in YWCA campaign

Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association returns to in-person orders for new school year

More to Discover