Friday, December 3, 2010

Thrift America??? or God Damn You, Alexa Chung

Old news to any Spinecracker who frequents Jezebel, but apparently "it girl" Alexa Chung is getting an Antiques Roadshow-style series on PBS. The premise? Hold on to your butts...

"On the show, [Chung] and Maya Singer, the series creator and the editor of special projects for, will comb the country's consignment shops, garage sales and flea markets for old clothing, furniture, music equipment and other potential treasures to use in various creative endeavors."

My first reaction was "pissed." Why the hell is the lady getting to live my/our dream? But then there was something that felt creepy about it to me.

There's an argument here about shopping in thrift stores because it's cool versus it being the only thing you can afford that is so trite that I'll not go into it here. But the "treasure hunting" spin adds a subtext of "There's good shit in here and these people are too stupid to realize it!!!" that rubs me the wrong way.

Granted, almost anyone who thrift shops would describe it as "treasure hunting," but the "treasure" is always subjective (my current "treasure" is a Chicago Bulls three-peat shirt). The subjective treasure is what makes thrift store shopping (for fun, not necessity) so great. From the descriptions I've read, it sounds like Chung's "treasure" is designer items and shit that's temporarily in style. Not to pose a Carrie Bradshaw-esque question, but when do we stop being thrift hunters and start being thrift poachers?

That said, I totally want to see this show. I can't be too much of an asshole about something that's not even on the air yet. But in my dreams, the show would offer thrifting tips that aren't ruled by someone's personal style (e.g. checking furniture for bed bugs, seasoning abused cast iron cookware) and would be hosted by all of us.


  1. I hope this doesn't make thrift store shopping more expensive than it already is! My coworkers all think I'm gross for shopping there, but if Alexa Chung is shopping there, it's not going to be gross anymore! Wahhhhh!

  2. Hahaha CBQs (Carrie Bradshaw Questions) should be required in all posts!

  3. i do admit, when i comb the alameda salv'army i have a thread of guilt strumming my stomach as i feel like i'm stealing the treasures of people who need them more than me. i try to keep the purchases to a minimum.
    that said, i wanna see the show. she better get ear-deep in secretary blouses and over-sized sweaters and not just skim the 'boutique' sections...
    killer carrie question!!!

  4. "But in my dreams, the show...would be hosted by all of us."

    That's how I feel.

    I don't know how I feel about this stuff. On one hand it would be great if everyone shopped at thrift stores for any reason because that would lead to less waste in the retail area. On the other, I don't want that because then there would be little to choose from. The show sounds annoying (to be the asshole) mostly because I don't want to see two wealthy people comb America's thrift stores.

    It totally pisses me off! It's like now people with money can enjoy the places we've all enjoyed/needed since we were kids. Not that all people with money hadn't previously been into thrift stores, but from my experience a lot of people do think they are gross. Sorry, this is going nowhere. I'm generalizing, assuming and being hypocritical. I hate money. the end. haha sorrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy


  5. "The show sounds annoying (to be the asshole) mostly because I don't want to see two wealthy people comb America's thrift stores."

    Yes! Yes! A 1000 times YESSSS!!! I've been searching for the words and there they are. THANK YOU!!

    When practicality is stripped away, you are left with novelty, and it's creepy to turn someone else's (often forced) choice into a kooky novelty.

    Now that I'll be making a decent salary, I'm at bizarre crossroads that will--coincidentally--probably lead me to more bazaars and Crossroads. For the first time EVER, I will be able to afford non-thrift store clothes, but will still opt for secondhand because the amount of fast fashion waste really bugs me. Maybe the show will laud thrifting for it's environmental- and wallet-friendliness, but it sounds like it's a just-for-kicks deal :\

    UPDATE: Still torn! Here's a video of her "thrifting" (aka shopping at vintage stores) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (oy!!!):

    On the one hand, really? Williamsburg vintage stores??? But on the other, I kind of like her on-screen persona.

    Whatever. I'll just keep indulging in my thrift store addiction and watch this show in private, whining the whole way through.

  6. hahahhaha "more bazaars and Crossroads"

    I'll give it a whiiiiiiiirlllllllllll