Bummer City Apparel introduces convenient, low-cost thrifting to New York

Courtesy of Carmen MacDougall
Courtesy of Carmen MacDougall

GLS freshman Carmen MacDougall has always loved thrift shops.

When she moved to New York, MacDougall noticed that vintage clothes in the city often come with high price tags, and she perceived a lack of constant circulation of clothes.  With college students in mind, MacDougall was inspired her to start her own online vintage clothing store.

MacDougall’s store Bummer City Apparel launched in January, after she had been at home in Chicago for winter break.

“In New York everything is super expensive just because it is called vintage, so I decided to start my own clothing site with more reasonable prices,” MacDougall said. “When I was home I started buying items from thrift stores and brought them back to New York.”

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Bummer City Apparel sells a wide range of vintage pieces at low prices. MacDougall and her partner, Tisch freshman Ben Klein, hand pick and photograph each piece before uploading it to their site to begin the selling process.

“I’d been running a photo blog called Bummer City for a couple years, so I offered to do the photography and design for the site, and attach the name ‘Bummer City.’ I took all the pictures you’ll see on the site,” Klein said. “We’ve been talking to some really interesting designers, including some NYU students, and we’re hoping to sell items designed exclusively for BCA pretty soon.”

The duo is currently looking to set up stands at festivals and fairs in the city over the summer. Bummer City Apparel is also negotiating collaborations with local artists and bands, like the alternative group Del Water Gap, to sell their pieces on the artists’ site.

The store ships anywhere in the United States, but their target audience is students and people in the New York area. A member of the Bummer City Apparel team can also meet with customers in the East Village or on campus to hand-deliver items, thus eliminating shipping costs.

“Overall, they make the process so simple,” said CAS freshman Megan Rafferty, who has been a Bummer City customer since the website’s inception. “Pieces of great quality are hand-delivered to you for low prices. It’s the perfect system for a college student living on a small budget.”

Rafferty was also impressed by the selection available.

“[Bummer City Apparel] picks the best stuff out of a cute vintage store for you, so you don’t need to do the work of digging around,” she said. “The prices are so much better than any thrift shop I’ve ever visited in the city.”

Although it is still a relatively new endeavor, MacDougall and Klein have big plans for the future of Bummer City Apparel as it continues to grow.

“It’s all taken off so fast,” MacDougall said. “I’m not really sure yet where it’s going to go, but that’s also the most exciting part.”

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, May print edition. Bryna Shuman is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]

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