This inviting boutique on Ninth Avenue features a few racks of carefully selected apparel, smartly styled mannequins and lots of room to walk around. It doesn’t look anything like a Goodwill thrift shop — and that’s the point. The nonprofit opened the pop-up stop at Chelsea Market this month as part of its effort to attract a new audience and boost interest in sustainable fashion.
“We wanted to show off the good looks that you can make at Goodwill,” said Katy Gaul-Stigge, president and CEO of Goodwill NYNJ. “It’s fun and can be very on trend to wear previously loved clothes.” The nonprofit, which started more than 100 years ago in Brooklyn, provides workforce training and placement for people with disabilities and the unemployed.
While some fashionistas love to dig through the racks of clothes at Goodwill shops to find their own treasures, others prefer a curated selection. Kia Marie, a stylist with a robust Instagram following as @thenotoriouskia, poured through Goodwill donations to pick a few favorites the pop-up is selling.
“Millennials are very eco-conscious and care about brands and what they stand for as well as the environment,” Gaul-Stigge said.
More consumers are also aware that inexpensive trendy clothing, known as fast-fashion, is stuffing landfills around the globe. Creating it gobbles up more natural resources, too. As a result, more people are interested in selling and donating their clothes while searching for new ones through secondhand and consignment shops.
Goodwill has established curated pop-up shops at their stores in Paramus, New Jersey, and in Downtown Brooklyn, using suggestions from stylists and fashion influencers such as Marie. A partnership with Google, which owns Chelsea Market, allowed them to set up shop through next Wednesday at the popular location.
Some of the special curated looks will be on display at an after-hours shopping event, “Goodwill Extended,” on Feb. 28 at the Greenwich Village store on West 8th Street, from 7 to 10 p.m.
“I thrift shop to the max so it’s cool coming to a different city and seeing what people wear in this city compared to what I see in Canadian thrift shops,” said Ciera Clark, 20, who stopped in the shop during her visit from Ontario.
“It’s great, everything is so much more accessible,” said Ana Del Prete, 22, who was visiting from Pittsburgh when she walked into store. “I didn’t even notice it was a Goodwill. You get unique pieces when you shop at places like this.”
Goodwill has 37 stores in its Greater New York area and has set an ambitious goal of collecting 1.2 million donations this year. It received about 900,000 donations in 2017.
“When you shop and donate you are empowering our mission,” Gaul-Stigge said. “People can see we are doing great things with their clothes.”