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Economic Downturn, Vintage Upswing

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There's no question independent boutiques are suffering through the current economy with shops closing from Melrose Place to West 3rd Street to Montana Avenue, but there's one retail sector which is currently thriving, according to the LAT—secondhand clothes, from designer finds at Decadestwo to ultra-thrifty purchases at Goodwill.

Most impressively, Decadestwo, which sells vintage YSL, Ungaro, Balenciaga, etc., reports sales are up 45% from last summer. In addition to sales, Co-owner Christos Garkinos told the paper he suspects "closet guilt" in the up tick in quality merch coming in: "We have the most well-heeled clientele in the world...They're taking a look in their closets and saying, 'I don't need all this stuff.' "

The Way We Wore, which also carries designer vintage, reports a 22% increase in sales as compared to September last year.

The paper also reports "healthy sales at charitable thrift stores, including the Salvation Army and Goodwill, as well as secondhand outposts such as the Buffalo Exchange in Highland Park and Santa Monica." More specifically, Goodwill has seen increased sales and donations "over last year's at the organization's 55 regional stores—even though the summer months are historically leaner." Salvation Army Santa Monica reports less donations but increased sales by 7%-12% from last year.

The Way We Wore owner Doris Raymond also notes that shoppers are more aware of buying secondhand clothes as a way of being environmentally conscious.
· Secondhand clothes, with sales rising, are the new scaled-back chic [LAT]