Shelby Guinn, owner of Junkyard Market thrifts all of her clothing, including vintage pieces that she often re-tools for modern wear. Photo credit: Shelby Guinn
In today’s society, thrifted and vintage clothing is a modern-day trend, fashionable and environmentally conscious.
For Shelby Guinn, owner of Junkyard Market, thrifting is a lifestyle.
“My clothing, while not always vintage, is 100% thrifted,” Guinn said. She never shops in retail stores for new clothing and only purchases used garments.
The 23-year-old opened her small-business in 2019 after receiving a bachelors in social work from the University of South Carolina in hopes of sharing her style and passion for sustainable clothing.
“I began as a vendor with the South Carolina Punk Flea Market and soon after became a part of the Other People’s Trash (OPT) collective in Columbia, South Carolina, which is a collective of other clothing and thrifted vendors, DIY-ers and artists,” Guinn said.
Junkyard Market sells unique, thrifted clothing — some of the items are considered vintage.
“The type of clothing I sell varies,” Guinn said. “I take into account the quality and type of material, the uniqueness of the design, the era during which it was created and how it has withstood the test of time. The items can be anything from ’90s lingerie, to ’80s windbreakers, to ’70s flared pants and everything else in between.”
While Guinn is a business woman, her love for thrifted and vintage clothing goes beyond Junkyard Market. For her, thrifted clothing combined with showcasing an individual, unique style is an art.
“I think it’s important to incorporate vintage and retro looks into style because it is always going to be unique,” Guinn said. “I like it when people can use clothing to express themselves and not just buy things off of the fast-fashion racks because it’s trending in the mainstream.
“Vintage is timeless and there’s so much of it circulating in fashion these days that it’s becoming easier and easier to find a look that can suit your individuality.”
As for her personal style, it’s ever-evolving and she takes great pride in that. She purchases her clothing from different thrift stores and second-hand sellers.
“My personal style is different every day,” Guinn said. “I’ll use modern costume jewelry with an ’80s nightlife dress or sometimes I use old painted boots to go with a vintage punk tee shirt. I am still experimenting on my always evolving aesthetic.”
“Lately I’ve been getting into a style called power clashing which is where you take two garments that have similar colors but differing patterns, or differing colors and similar patterns, and put them together,” Guinn said. “For example, a tan and red houndstooth patterned blazer would pair with a black and green houndstooth patterned pair of pants. Slap on some velvet blue boots with blue earrings and you’re ready to rock and roll!”
Guinn isn’t just a buyer, wearer and seller of thrifted and vintage clothing. Outside of that world, she is a visual artist who enjoys painting. She uses her artistic eye to re-tool thrifted clothing as well.
“I don’t refurbish the vintage pieces I collect because I like to preserve their life and story,” Guinn said. “I will refurbish other thrifted items, such as cropping a cool shirt or embroider onto some neat pants.”
It isn’t just unique style that catches Guinn’s attention but the detail and quality of work that goes into each individual garment.
“One of my favorite garments currently is a tan floor length raincoat which was made in the ’80s,” Guinn said. “Everything from the material to the threading is so incredibly sturdy. They just don’t make clothes like this anymore.”
While style choice is a primary reason Guinn enjoys thrifted and vintage clothing, she is committed to the concept of sustainability of thrifted clothing.
“It’s more environmentally sustainable,” Guinn said. “There’s sometimes an odd stigma surrounding second-hand clothing but I believe that giving an item the use it deserves rather than just chucking it is better in the long run.”
“Fast fashion is bad on the environment and the clothes aren’t as well made as they used to be. Plus, we’re giving our money to corporations so they can churn out more poorly-made clothes, side note, many not paying livable wages to their workers and forcing them to work in poor conditions while making a huge profit of a public that is told ‘hey, buy this because it’s trendy.'”
“We all could be a little kinder to older clothes and give them the life they deserve.”
Guinn shows off her unique style which changes everyday, pairing a vintage blazer with bold earrings.Photo credit: Shelby Guinn
Outside of opening a business, Guinn has had to learn how to market herself through social media in order to make Junkyard Market known. Photo credit: Hallie Hayes
Julio Tamayo models some garments from Junkyard Market, showing that not all of Guinn’s items are directed towards females. Photo credit: Shelby Guinn
Guinn models a vintage velvet mini dress which is for sale at Junkyard Market. Photo credit: Shelby Guinn