The Villager Club

What’s your dream fashion membership club? One with no membership fee? With virtually endless clothing from across the decades available at low cost? And a human provides free styling service? Oh, and it’s philanthropic too? Too good to be true? Nope. It’s true and it’s Arc’s Value Village Thrift Store! Membership is free, and the benefits are amazing.

Ok so I am on staff so have bias, but hear me out. A guest recently told me about a fun in-store experience she had where she was recognized by another guest who had seen her on our social media (we regularly feature and repost people’s fun thrifting photos). The two got to chatting, and one ran out to her car to retrieve a skirt from her to-donate bag to give to her new friend, thinking it would look great! It didn’t fit, and so was donated after all, but the interaction is not uncommon. Our guests are caring and take care of one another. It’s like an everyday adaptation of the novel/movie ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ in that we are all sharing these magical clothes.

I recently photographed a non-binary model for our Villager Pop-Up Shop series and it was fun to work with someone who shares my fashion aesthetic as well as six-foot stature. One of the dresses, a rose gold sequin dress with a flapper-fringe hem looked particularly stunning on the model and I was delighted to discover that they were not buying the dress, and that it was available for me. This moment reinforced again for me the fluid nature of thrifting and our human connection through the clothing that we donate and wear. This dress was likely donated by someone much younger than I am (as demonstrated in the original retailer’s photo on the left), then admired and styled by a non-binary person (middle photo), then purchased by a middle-aged woman (me, photo on right), and I’ll inevitably donate it back at some point for the next person/people to enjoy. The dress is in great condition, and I intend to take good care of it and give it a good life. It’s the same in life. We take good care of one another, and give each other a good life. It’s the humankind model. It’s the sustainable Mother Earth model. It’s the Arc’s Value Village model.

Membership to this club is free and the benefits are amazing.

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