HHS Student Leads the Charge for Sustainability with Vintage Klothing
Dec 7, 2020
As society moves past name brand stores and fast fashion, it opens up to a new world of upcycling and reselling.
HHS students have turned to Depop, Grailed, local thrift stores, and online sustainable brands to buy, sell, and even trade their new or used clothes.
Sam Gausmann, junior, and Mike Blum, senior at Edina High School, have taken this one step further with their own reselling business @vintageklothing on Instagram, raking in over 1,000 followers.
Its name — Vintage Klothing — derives quite literally from resurfacing styles and fashion, in which Gausmann believes (vintage) clothing can give you the ability to express yourself by giving you confidence because of something so simple: an outfit.
Vintage Klothing began back in February with its first initial drop of 50 items. It was clear from the start their business was going to be more successful than they thought, and all pieces sold out within a couple hours.
“That weekend [of our first clothing drop] we promised our customers, most of whom are in the Minneapolis area, that we would deliver their purchases to them for a small fee. We had no clue how long that would take… I spent two nights in Blum’s basement, making it strictly business,” Gausmann said. “Since that weekend, we’ve been able to learn so much and grow as a business.”
Along with online selling, Gausmann and Blum have made appearances at local flea markets and pop up sales. At these events, they have been introduced to new people, culture, and exploration of uncharted territories.
“We’ve also been able to meet and learn from people in the vintage clothing community who do pretty much the same thing we do. I’ve been able to sell to friends and people in the area and it’s cool to see that vintage clothing is a trend amongst people my age,” Gausmann said.
Vintage Klothing has reaped in success, but the process behind it all is not always glamorous.
When he’s not consumed with school or running on HHS’s cross country team, you can always find Gausmann thrifting at local stores around town.
“It’s really a hit or miss — most of the time I’ll leave a thrift store empty handed. But special days, I’ll get lucky and have a pretty good day finding clothes. This business has taught me to remain persistent,” Gausmann said.
Besides the connection to a new community and hustle, the morals behind Vintage Klothing are for the better. In this case: the environment.
According to Business Insider UK, “The fashion industry is the second largest in the world, coming second to the oil sector. 20 percent of industrial water pollution stems from textile development and this booming industry emits 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.”
Gausmann recognized that the way we purchase and distribute clothing needed change.
“Shortly after I started this business, I learned this statistic and that in the United States it’s estimated that around 26 billion pounds of clothes, on average, are sent to landfills,” Gausmann said.
The draw of Gausmann and Blum’s business and others like it have started to make an impact.
Fast fashion tycoons like Zara and H&M are notorious for their “low wages, unrelenting hours, unsafe environments, and rampant verbal, physical, and sexual abuse,” according to Vox. But there is a trend away from fast fashion, as H&M’s quarterly profit was expected to fall 10 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2019, according to CNBC.
Gausmann couldn’t believe the environmental impacts and lack of ethics behind the fast fashion industry.
“Running a business that sells essentially ‘recycled’ clothing makes me feel like I’m at least helping the environment out in a small way.”
With their can-do attitude and uniqueness, it has caused them to have a recent gain in popularity, hinting at a big project and details of an upcoming website — their new platform for selling.
Yet their Instagram includes more than selling items; showcasing story highlights of behind the scenes and tips on what to look for in vintage clothes- tags on shirts, stitching styles, sizing, clothing care, and logos.
Many more posts and highlights are to come, but COVID-19 paused this due to several in-person thrift stores clothing during the past months. However, Gausmann and Blum have noted that they’re currently stockpiling clothes for a website drop.
Although Gausmann and Blum are currently taking a short break from the company, they have hope for the future and will not stop pursuing what they love.
“The connections we’ve built are a big reason why I love doing what I do.”