These days, it is hard to deny second-hand shopping is popular, especially among college students. Some students choose thrift shops over a trip to the mall to save money; some others do it purely because pop culture says it’s ‘cool.’ But at Hyattsville’s newest consignment store, Coco Libre, it’s purely for environmental reasons.
“Style is becoming a little more eclectic overall. The people we see on TV are reaching back in time and taking stuff from when they were younger, or their parents generation, and making that fresh,” said Coco Libre co-founder Ongisa Ichile about the vintage trend.
Ichile and her sister, Imbi Ichile, opened Coco Libre in October, located in the Hyattsville Arts District, motivated to be both socially conscious and earth-friendly. “We wanted to do something great and ethical… and we wanted to bring it to Hyattsville because they have a burgeoning arts district,” Ichile said. Since the store’s opening, Coco Libre has already dedicated much of their efforts to achieving their goal of creating a greener, more responsible way of shopping. According to Ichile, Coco Libre intends, in time, to partner with other eco-friendly organizations in the area in order to reinforce their message.
While many young people might like vintage clothes because of their rarity or uniqueness, Coco Libre sees it, rather, as a means of recycling. According to the store’s website, an estimated total of 11.8 million tons of clothing are thrown away each year, with the average American throwing away 68 pounds of clothing each. “Vintage clothing is green, it’s good for the environment. You’re saving that clothing from ending up in a landfill,” said Ichile.
Natasha Paulmeno, a sophomore communication and Spanish major, said she tries to be environmentally conscious, but never thought of shopping as recycling. “Sometimes I just go thrift shopping because it’s cheaper, but that does sound like it would be a really good idea, to be eco-friendly,” Paulmeno said.
Said Ichile: “What you get at Coco Libre, you’re not going to find it anywhere else, and it’s not something you’re going to find in Abercrombie or American Apparel. You’re going to get a one-of-a-kind piece and you’re going to be doing something great.”