As consumers become more aware of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry, they are seeking alternatives to participating in fast-fashion and hyper-consumptive shopping cultures.
Thrifting, in particular, has seen a major increase in popularity over the last decade. Thrift stores across the Kitchener-Waterloo region and beyond have expanded in both size and number.
Though debates around the ethics of thrift stores are raising important points about overconsumption and textile waste [see page 10], second-hand shopping is an important strategy in combating the effects of climate change.
If you are interested in exploring some of the best second-hand stores in the region, here is a list of some of the top places to thrift in Kitchener-Waterloo.
- Value Village
There are three Value Village locations in KW: one in Waterloo at 330 Farmer’s Market Rd., and two in Kitchener — one at 50 Gateway Park Dr. and one at 120 Ottawa St. N. All these stores have a wide range of items, including clothing, books, household items and more, sold at relatively low prices.
- Thrift on Kent
Thrift on Kent, located at 50 Kent Ave. in Kitchener, is a not-for-profit thrift store with all proceeds going to the Mennonite Central Committee’s volunteer efforts. The store sells furniture and houseware, clothing, electronics and more. The prices at Thrift on Kent are consistently low, and there are always interesting items. However, the clothing selection can sometimes be limited.
Thrift on Kent also has an online store, so you can check out the selection from home.
- Luster & Oak
If you’re looking for a more curated selection, Luster & Oak has an array of stylish pieces, including both vintage and newer clothes. The price range is slightly higher than stores like Value Village, but the quality and condition of the clothing tend to be higher as well.
Located in Uptown Waterloo at 2 King St. South, Luster & Oak also has an online store featuring many of their best items.
- Carousel Clothing
Carousel Clothing in Kitchener is the largest consignment shop in the area, with a selection of casual, formal and business attire. The store carries clothing that is in-season and less than two years old, from sizes 0 to 24, including petites. They also have new jewellery and some clothing directly from boutiques with tags still on.
Carousel Clothing is located at 72 Leger St. in Kitchener. You can also check out their online store.
- Artisanal Design Co.
Artisanal Design Co. is a vintage clothing store in Kitchener, located at 2157 Kingsway Dr. The store offers a range of products, including clothing, self-care items and other locally made goods. They also have an online store.
The Talize thrift store in KW is located at 1144 Courtland Ave. E in Kitchener. A Canadian thrift shop chain, Talize has a good range of clothing items in person as well as in their online store.
- Plato’s Closet
Kitchener also has a Plato’s Closet, located at 700 Strasburg Rd., with gently used, name-brand clothes, shoes and accessories. The store has a wide range of items at affordable prices.
Located at 1348 Weber St. E in Kitchener, Goodwill has many items at lower prices and a pretty big selection, though items aren’t always organized consistently throughout the store.