Closet Confidential: Sophia Yang
We went over to Sophia’s place on a sunny Saturday and chatted through her wardrobe!
Sophia attended Recloseted’s clothing swap back in October and she was wearing such a cool outfit that we KNEW we had to do a Closet Confidential with her!
Sophia is completing her last semester at the University of British Columbia (UBC) studying Natural Resources & Conservation in the Faculty of Forestry. She is also working as a research assistant at UBC Forestry and is a BC Act of Days Coordinator for Parkbus, a company that plans hikes in the Lower Mainland. Sophia is a sustainability nerd and was the BC youth delegate that represented the young voices of the province at COP24, a United Nations climate change conference. She’s done a lot of NGO and advocate work, and ideally wants to combine her passion, creativity and design skills together in the future. Sophia enjoys attending festivals, creating things, thrifting, and hiking (her favourite Vancouver hikes are Golden Ears Provincial Park because there’s a hike for everyone regardless of their fitness level and the Chief).
Sophia is going to walk us through her eclectic closet, teach us her thrifting tips, and share her favourite local shops.
Walk us through your wardrobe!
How do you describe your personal style?
Colourful, eclectic, textured, unconventional, and unpredictable. It’s really my signature and what I’m known for amongst my friend group. The last time I wore a black sweater, my friend actually asked if I was okay LOL!
What gets the most wear in your closet and what is your go-to outfit?
Definitely this jacket! I love how colourful it is and the patterns. I can throw it over anything and it really makes a statement! For my go-to oufit, I’m usually (in mom) jeans and some sort of bright kimono. I have quite a few kimonos that I’ve collected from local thrift shops in Vancouver. For my jeans, I quite often cut off the ends and fray them myself with scissors to give it a more distressed look.
Where is majority of your clothing from?
40% is from Community Thrift & Vintage. The organization does a great job curating vintage pieces. They’re also a non-profit organization that help women in the Downtown Eastside.
40% is secondhand from other places like Value Village, Mintage, Dutch, clothing swaps, etc.
20% are from fast fashion retailers from years ago. I have a few things from Topshop, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. Interestingly, nothing from H&M has lasted.
10-20% are gifts from friends, or bought from festivals.
Were you always into thrifting? How did you get into it?
No, I wasn’t always into thrifting! Back in 2013 - 2015, I used to shop at malls. I remember when I was still in Calgary in a mall on Boxing Day, I was buying a lot of stuff thinking I was saving SO much money, but a couple of months later, I realized I only used some of the items I bought (eg: discounted candles, bath washes, etc.). When I moved to Vancouver, I wanted to de-clutter and put away the clothing pieces that I didn’t wear anymore. When I did this exercise, I realized that all the clothing pieces I got rid of were from Forever 21, Topshop, H&M, and Zara. I concluded that none of those clothes lasted and were only trendy for that one season.
When I moved to Vancouver in January of 2018, I started thrifting with my previous roommate and friend. I owe a lot to my friend for showing me the Vancouver thrift scene. Honestly, the thrift scene here is insane because you can find so many gems! It also wasn’t until this year that I really figured out that my style is colourful and boho.
Now when I get dressed in the morning, I like to play a game with myself and see how many pieces are NOT fast fashion, or from the mall. I’m proud to say that usually 90% of my outfit is thrifted, secondhand from a friend, or from a clothing swap.
What do you like most about thrifting?
I love that I can get unique pieces that express my personal style and know that nobody else will have the same garment. Everyone wants to feel confident and sexy, and it’s possible to do that without going to the mall!
What are some of your thrifting tips?
If it’s your first time thrifting, go with a friend! It’s fun to bounce ideas off each other
I recommend looking at jackets first. I find jackets are easier to deal with and can help you get into it
Go when you have time to kill, or when you can make a day out of thrifting
Go to specific areas where there are a lot of thrift stores so it’s not a bust if one shop doesn’t have what you want. In Vancouver, you can check out Main Street and Gastown— there are a lot of thrift stores there
Don’t be afraid to go into the guy section— you never know what you’ll find!
Have some things in mind for what you want to look for
Lastly, take a photo of your closet before you leave so you don’t accidentally buy similar items
What are some of our favourite thrift stores in Vancouver?
Do you change over your closet for different seasons?
My wardrobe and room is quite small, so I don’t switch over my closet for different seasons. I keep it as is, and layer in the fall and winter. In the summer, I just wear less layers. I have a general mindset of not having rules when it comes to fashion, so I don’t really agree with changing things over for various seasons because my style is always changing anyways.
Since you don’t change over your closet, how often do you purge your wardrobe?
In October 2018, I went through my closet and did a purge to donate and sell clothes, but realized I had accumulated a lot. Even though I thrift, it’s still consumption and I need to be mindful of the things I’m buying. Now I’ve taken a step back from thrifting and attend clothing swaps instead, like the one that Recloseted put on in October!
I do have trouble letting go of things though, so I recently started a system where I have bins at the bottom of my closet. One bin is for clothes to get rid of, another bin consists of items to give friends, and the last bin is a re-evaluate pile. For the re-evaluate bin, I put garments in there if I haven’t worn it in a while and see if I still like it two months later. If not, I give it up.
Love the bin system! How do you get dispose of clothes in you no longer wear?
My friends get a first pass at anything I no longer wear.
For anything left, I’ll donate it, or bring it to a clothing swap.
For donations, I usually drop it off at the Salvation Army because it was along my way to school. I have also donated to thrift stores that are close to me.
For clothing swaps, I’ve gone to the Recloseted clothing swap, another swap in the summertime called Burning Glam, and one on Commercial Drive called “Tickle Trunk”.
Any last words for the readers?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and be out there with your style. Experiment and have fun with it!
Lastly, I REALLY suggest thrifting more because you can get unique pieces. Also, if you’re trying to get out of fast fashion, do it with a friend. Don’t let this be your own journey— have people join to keep you accountable and give you support.
Thank you to Sophia for letting us into her wardrobe and sitting down with us!
Connect with Sophia: @KaleidoSophia
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