Black Friday is seen as an opportunity to follow up the main feat of Thanksgiving — the stomach-stuffing feast — with a shopping spree. On this day, many across the nation will take advantage of astronomical sales offered by retailers, big and small. With discounts typically starting at 37 percent off original pricing, the Friday after turkey day seems profitable for our economy and our closets. What often goes unpublicized is the havoc the occasion wreaks. An increased number of cars on the road leads to heightened air pollution and bagging products that account for the $5 billion in retail sales in the United States alone, can cause sizable plastic wastage. Alternatively, Mariam Pranschke of Boro Resale offers a sustainable retail experience by curating a collection of vintage, consignment, and second-hand designer pieces. Consider stopping into her Eastern Market shop before purchasing new fashion pieces this weekend.
Tell us about the start of Boro Resale. You originally began vending at Eastern Market and eventually opened a storefront.
I hosted popups for Boro Resale around metro Detroit back in 2016 and early 2017, and opened up our permanent location on Gratiot Avenue in May 2017. From the start, I wanted it to be a consignment shop that prioritized relationships with our customers and consigners. Boro Resale isn’t just a retail space, but a place where people can find new homes for their prized possessions. The process for selecting what we will hang on our racks and place on our shelves is a rather slow, tedious process but it’s important for us to consider what we might purchase. We don’t just buy what is offered to us outright — how we operate strays from most typical thrift stores.
Growing up, I thrifted and eventually discovered my own sense of style in stores like Value World and Salvation Army. That’s how my mom raised my siblings and me — to shop resale. It was a necessity at certain points, but then it became something that I enjoyed doing. Boro Resale, being a consignment store, provides a curated selection of products, which eliminates the hours that shoppers might spend digging through a standard vintage shop. Although I never studied fashion, my art history major lent itself to Boro Resale. I try to include a short paragraph of our garments’ history on the back of every of sale tag, whether it’s the brand heritage or the consignor’s personal stories tied with the piece. Fashion magazines have no jurisdiction on what Boro Resale has to offer.
Black Friday is upon us, and shoppers will certainly play into the steals and deals promoted by large, fast-fashion chains – many of which would sway from including the stories of how their products are made. How does Boro Resale offer a more sustainable shopping method?
By shopping resale, you’re not directly fighting the making of poorly made garments or the horrifying conditions in which they are constructed in, but indirectly, your putting a wedge in the process. If you’re unaware of how these huge companies practice, vintage shopping, in a way, lessens their influence. At Boro Resale, we collect refined products from brands that are more transparent; whether that be lux labels or smaller US-made clothiers, we encourage people to brings us ethically made, quality products. It can be hard to know the creation process these makers pursue, but those that are closer to home typically craft higher quality products than the typical, fast-fashion storefront.
Would you agree that today, those with true, covetable personal style are shopping for something one of a kind?
National and international retailers offer the same renditions of clothing, in multiple sizes that are born from programed systems that prioritize profits. With math like that, there is no room for experimentation, which makes it harder for shoppers to find something off the beaten path. In the eyes of these chains, products that don’t sell are seen as waste. Thrifting and consignment shopping can foster personal style simply because there really are no boundaries, which allows one to see what does and doesn’t work aesthetically – a process that can be hard, undoubtedly. Local, smaller boutiques and thrift stores staff individuals that want to help you explore your sense of creativity, if asked. Trends, to me, are becoming less relevant.
Can you share your sales for the holiday weekend?
For Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, we’ll have our holiday tree up, dressed in ornaments that will coordinate with our different discounts, which range from a free bottle of wine to 10, 20, and 50 percent off and a free item with a purchase.