We’re excited to announce a new feature for Thrift Store Runway: interviews with some of our frequent entrants and familiar faces. This month, we’ll start things off with our two judges. Here, Isaiah Johnson gives us some tips for a successful visit to a thrift store and speaks with us about his love for fashion, and his aspirations for a career in the fashion industry. Isaiah writes his own fashion blog, A Collected Gentleman.
Thrift Store Runway: What do you do?
Isaiah Johnson: Right now I am a college student; I’ll be entering my senior year in the fall. I major in Art with a minor in English. I am hoping to enter the fashion industry. I am also a blogger.
TSR: How did you get involved with thrifting?
IJ: I’ve had my blog for a year, and prior to that I was looking for inspiration. I would always hear that I could find the best clothes at thrift stores, and one day I went to the Salvation Army and went from there.
TSR: So basically you were inspired by the fact that you could find both affordable and fashionable clothing, and it just became a passion and a hobby for you?
IJ: Yes, at first it was that, and then I just fell in love with thrifting! There is a thrill to it. You never know what you’re going to get when you walk in.
TSR: Do you have any sort of method or practice you use when you go into a thrift store?
IJ: I try to go thrifting at least once a week. When I first started out, I wasn’t really patient. I learned that I needed to really, really take my time. If you aren’t, you can miss a lot of really incredible things. I also learned that if I can afford to get an interesting piece that might not match pieces I already have, I should get it, because you never know if it will be gone the next time you return. You never know what you’ll have in the future.
TSR: Would you say that when it comes to thrifting its necessary to be flexible, and to not expect to get a certain thing?
IJ: All I can say is, keep your eyes open. Like I said, you really have to look hard. 95% of the time I find something great.
TSR: From photographs of yourself on your blog and on Thrift Store Runway, we’ve seen that you obviously find some great pieces, what items are you most proud of finding?
IJ: I love whenever I can find a great blazer. I found a grey wool blazer that is just great (see below). I’ve found Christian Dior and Burberry ties. I always find great ties!
TSR: The way that you use ties, as Pocket Square is pretty unique!
IJ: Yeah, when you run out of pocket squares, you’ve got to get creative!
TSR: What specific stores do you like to shop in?
IJ: I’m located in North Carolina, and I’ve noticed that the thrift stores down here have better items than the ones in the north. They are cheaper, and I’ve had a lot of luck finding some great things. The Salvation Army in Indianapolis has had some great pieces.
TSR: How many hours a week do you spend thrifting?
IJ: When I’m in school, usually 10-15 hours per week. When I don’t have school, I try to go 20-25 hours a week.
TSR: Thanks, Isaiah!