Flea markets have existed in Europe for centuries. In the 1990s, thrift shops and second-hand stores became increasingly popular in the United States and Japan. Compared with brand-new products, secondhand objects are generally more affordable, if they’ve been well-maintained, they can be in great condition. In addition to their economy, second-hand objects have the value of history and mysteriousness. Unlike mass produced products, the stories behind the old things make them unique.
Many thrift shops are messy and unorganized, which results in an unpleasant and unaesthetic shopping experience. Based on personal experience, it is hard and time-consuming to find a desired product straightforwardly in a secondhand market due to the messy arrangement and the lack of well-defined themes. Overly cluttered visuals make the audience exhausted.
My project, Story Thrifting, embraces a creative curation of secondhand objects from my personal belongings and my friends’, categorizing and displaying them according to distinct themes such as 1920s and Earthy. Unlike what we could find in a regular thrift shop, Story Thrifting shares a story about each object, celebrating the history and life it had before. It also includes a description card for each item, but leaves the original owners anonymous. With this project, I aim to communicate that thrift shopping is more than purchasing inexpensive items, the functionality is not the only thing that sells and comes with the objects. It should be always meaningful for the people and the society that stories behind each object are the ones that are worth purchasing.