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New student group 'Thrift Flippedd' hopes to create a sustainable, fashionable future

First-year Naomi Major and sophomore Redding Thomas pose for a portrait at the Pit on Oct. 26, 2022. Thrift Flippedd is a new thrift store on campus aiming to teach and practice sustainable fashion.

A new student organization is bringing sustainability to the closets of UNC students.

Thrift Flippedd aims to promote fashion sustainability by providing students an on-campus source for second-hand clothes and upcycling workshops.

 “You can grow with your closet instead of out of your closet,” said first-year Ariel Halperin, president and founder of Thrift Flippedd.

Halperin said they noticed other sustainability programs on UNC’s campus and wanted to create one devoted specifically to fashion.

The organization has been collecting clothing donations of any type for the past two weeks to build inventory for its first event. 

Thrift Flippedd events will include weekly or bi-weekly pop-up shopping, as well as workshops on thrifting tips and upcycling methods, they said. Workshops will cover topics such as mending clothes, crocheting, cloth painting and embroidery. 

There will also be events where students can choose an item from the organization’s inventory and upcycle it on the spot.

“There’s just many, many benefits to thrifting,” Halperin said. 

Thrifting is affordable for students, good for the Earth and a way to expand personal style, they continued.

“The point is to make it convenient,” Redding Thomas, a sophomore and member of Thrift Flippedd’s marketing committee, said.

He explained that visitors to their donation table have expressed the inconvenience of taking a bus or walking far off-campus to donate or sell their clothes to local thrift stores. 

“The goal is to create an on-campus thrift store that students, and anyone in Chapel Hill, can just come to and get clothes that are decently priced and sourced in sustainable and ethical ways,” Abhi Mukku, a junior and co-head for Thrift Flippedd’s operations committee, said.

Sustainability practices are at the forefront of Thrift Flippedd’s mission, Mukku said. The organization is trying to prevent students from contributing to the fast fashion industry, including companies such as Shein, which are a large contributor to pollution and workers’ rights abuses said.

“This is just something trying to combat that in our little community and promote sustainability,” he said. 

Students can earn store credit for donated items and use them later at pop-ups. Halperin hopes that this will create a “cyclical redistribution” network of clothes on campus.

“We really don’t want to promote consumption,” she said. 

Instead, the organization hopes to encourage students to work with what they have, giving them the tools to upcycle clothing and acquire it sustainably.

With enough inventory and volunteers, the organization’s end goal is to open a permanent physical store, Halperin said, similar to the student-run Meantime Coffee Company on campus. This space would serve as a center for shopping, workshops and donations. 

“UNC has been a starting place for a lot of trends and can be looked at as a model for other in-state schools, and just in general," Halperin said. "So I think piloting something like this at UNC could have a really big impact on other college campuses."


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Emi Maerz

Emi Maerz is a 2023-24 assistant lifestyle editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously covered UNC for the university desk. Emi is a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and media and dramatic art.