An American's Guide to Thrift Shopping in Paris by Ciarra Wentzel, June 29 2016, 0 Comments

Ah Paris, the city of romance, fashion, and trendy cuisines, what would we do without you? As a little girl, I dreamt about visiting what many fashionistas envision as the chicest city in the world. And for many, it has been a dream to shop the quaint boutiques on the streets of Paris. So, as soon as I came off the seven-hour flight from my second love, New York City, to my now first love, Paris, I had the urge to buy the most fashionable garments in town to try and fit in with Paris’ most elite.

However, as an environmentally conscious shopper, I decided to skip over the high-priced luxury designer stores and instead, immerse myself in the local Parisian culture. So I headed toward Paris’ well-known thrift shops. Thrift shopping fits right into the high society’s trends alongside fancy Sunday brunches at Angelina and evening macaroon and tea sessions at Ladurée.

The trendiest Parisians spend their Euros on Rue de la Verrerie where there are plenty of thrift shops packed with second-hand apparel and accessories for both men and women. The street includes popular thrift shops “Kilo Shop” and “Free ‘P’ Star”. But what is it that makes these thrift shops worth a plane ride to Europe? Well, Kilo Shop weighs purchases and charges customers by each kilogram, while Free ‘P’ Star is equally as affordable by charging low prices for designer finds. These famous second-hand boutiques have everything from designer scarves to kimonos. So if you're an avid shopper/deal finder and you 'accidentally' find yourself in Paris or have planned ahead of time for an extravagant holiday, these two stores are a must-see. The stores are conveniently located across from each other, but you better get there right when they open because the tiny spaces always cram with eager shoppers.

This all seemed too good to be true, so I had to ask myself; Why is buying used clothes so trendy in Paris? So much time, energy and resources go into making each and every garment we buy, only for the clothes to end up in landfills where they can stay without degrading for over 200 years. The film, "The True Cost”, reveals that each American throws away about 82 pounds of textile waste each year! And our own textile waste releases toxins into the air that damage the land we call home. One way to avoid this vicious cycle is to purchase second-hand clothes and in a way recycle and reinvent their purpose. The Parisians clearly understand the true cost of wasting textiles, so they've encouraged saving the environment by making sustainable shopping into a trend. But, to be honest, who would have guessed that “thrifting” is so big in arguably the most fashionable place in the world? Even Macklemore would be impressed.

Kiloshop Kilo at 65 Rue de la Verrerie, Paris, France. Photo taken from

Free ‘P’ Star is at 61 Rue de la Verrerie, Paris, France. Photo taken from

Author Bio: Ciarra Wentzel is a senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology studying a Bachelor of Science degree in International Trade and Marketing. She is minoring in Ethics and Sustainability and a leader in sustainable fashion. Ciarra is the Marketing Leader for FIT’s Compost Project and she is the Director of Communications for FIT's Ethics and Sustainability club. She has volunteered for sustainable organizations like NYC's BigReuse to help collect compost.