We all yearn for that perfect pair of jeans or that certain outfit that carries massive ‘wow’ factor at a party. Unfortunately, those items don’t always come easy, nor do they often come cheap. But thanks to stores like Crossroads Trading Co., fashionable trends are available with an added eco-conscious twist, as they offer gently worn apparel at affordable prices.
With a motto of “fashion recycled,” Crossroads offers a variety of styles and brands, from H&M to bigger names like True Religion and Jeffery Campbell’s. The beauty of Crossroads is that not just in the offering of coveted brands at desirable prices, but also their emphasis on the importance of buying used clothing as a superior option, economically and environmentally, to buying clothes off the rack at a typical retail store.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jamie Powell, manager of Crossroads Trading Co. in Santa Barbara, to discuss what sets Crossroads apart from other vintage or thrift clothing stores.
According to Jaime, one of the biggest differences is that Crossroads offers a men’s section, making it the only high end vintage thrift store in Santa Barbara to do so. It’s Jaime’s opinion that recycled fashion should not only be accessible to women, but to men as well!
What really struck me in our conversation was when Jaime talked about how Crossroads is “reflective of a community,” as the company receives a majority of its clothing from the public in the surrounding area, and thereby becomes definitive of that city’s particular style.
Jaime explained how the Crossroads in Los Angeles is different from the Crossroads in Santa Barbara because each community is different – the easy, beach-style embodied in companies like Free People and Lulu Lemon sell well in Santa Barbara because that’s what many people wear. Those same brands might not fare as well in a city like San Francisco, for example, where the dress is suited to big city life, quite different from that of sun-kissed Santa Barbara (no disrespect intended to our San Francisco or Los Angeles neighbors, of course!).
The concept of “green fashion” at a more accessible level is at the heart and soul of Crossroads. While developments in eco-fashion with the advancement of materials like hemp and bamboo are slowly making these more available and affordable at a larger scale, Crossroads is taking what people already own and simply repurposing it, which means much less waste and the extension of the life of a given product.
Crossroads breathes new life into the stuffy thrift and vintage atmosphere which can be generic, too big, too small, or too worn. Crossroads stays current and buys what is “trending,” and as Jaime explained, “we are very aware of what is selling and what is not in order to ensure our customers are getting what they see in other retail stores.”
The magnificence of Crossroads is that your typical Santa Barbara college hippie girl, an early 20’s sporty guy, a late 20’s young professional, or new parents can walk in and buy completely different items, contribute to a more ethical business model, and as Jamie put it, “feel less guilty about shopping.”
Crossroads Trading Co. is not just a second-hand clothing store; it’s a community clothing store that gives the bold and concentrated flavor of a city’s particular style paralleled with a green vision. The idea of having one’s used clothes become another’s treasure is what recycled fashion is all about, and Crossroads Trading Co. has found a way to define what it means to dress sustainably and in style.
By Apoorva Chiplunkar, LoaTree contributing writer