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The Goodwill Makeover: A Lesson In Secondhand Fashion

Courtesy of Jennifer Le Zotte


  Remember when people were ashamed to wear hand-me-downs and shop at Goodwill? Or when used clothing was thought to be dirty and infested with bugs? How did things evolve from that to groups like Nirvana proudly sporting their used gear and setting a new fashion trend?

Long before Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement, second hand fashion trends were making their way through American culture. Jennifer Le Zotte is author of “From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies” (The University of North Carolina Press/ 2017). She joins host Frank Stasio to discuss the distinctly American trend of voluntarily embracing secondhand clothing. Le Zotte takes readers from the early days when used clothes were taboo to grunge.

Whether it is done to protect the environment, fight capitalism or just to be cool, the movement continues to grow with national chains like Buffalo Exchange and Urban Outfitters reaping the rewards.


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Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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