Prof. Clarissa Ceglio, Depts. of History and Digital Media & Design
Arts and Humanities | Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Digital Humanities | Film and Media Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Media
In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, a noticeable surge of videos focused on thrifted clothing appeared on the social media platform TikTok, coinciding with an increase in offline thrift store traffic. Individual contributors to these trends comprise a networked community of popular creators and lifestyle followers of these thrifting videos on TikTok, or “ThriftTok,” based on the commonly-used hashtag of the same name. The ThriftTok community is not monolithic. Its productions encompass a spectrum of videos ranging from flea market explorations and goth-style thrifted fashion, to reselling tips and “thrift with me” videos. Its participants range from indie band members to Twilight fans and teenage entrepreneurs. Through a small-scale cultural analysis, this study explores how North American youth engage with thrifting-related TikTok videos. The objective is to understand the cultivation of group and individual identities through shared customs, the app’s affordances, and the symbolic meanings of the clothing itself. This analysis describes how networked users interconnect through the practice of thrifting. The community’s distinct styles assist in crafting and displaying identity– a process that occurs alongside nostalgic sentiments and self-satirizing humor. It also explores disharmony within the group identity and how this relates to broader frustrations about commodified identities, as well as consumer capitalism’s emphasis on fast-fashion at the expense of fair labor practices and sustainable policies.
Andronowitz, Kathryn, "The Fashioning of Individual and Group Identities in the ThriftTok Community" (2023). Holster Scholar Projects. 47.