Fast fashion is a cheap way to dress, but the environment pays the price. Experts say that the constant purchase of clothes leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions due to shipping, reliance on synthetic materials to make them, and that much of the clothing ends up in the dump when people discover new trends.
Thrift continues to be a growing trend, especially with Gen Z. A local vintage store helps the community thrive in more ways than one.
“I have some weird stuff here,” said Pete Benck, owner of Good Style Shop.
Each element of Good style shop has at least one thing in common.
“You have your sequins, your chiffon, your lamé, more sequins,” Benck said.
When it went out of style, someone thought it was trash. Not Benck.
“If you arrive with an open mind, Halloween is especially in the mood. Here’s like a bustier, okay,” Benck said.
The things people wanted out of their homes find a home at Good Style Shop in Madison.
“I kind of see it as a resource for creatives,” Benck said.
The vintage clothing store has just about everything.
“You can find your favorite jersey here…” Benck said. “Flannels galore.”
Benck has owned his business for over a decade and works with local vendors to find buried treasures.
“There’s always something to find if you’re willing to dig in and take the time,” Hannah Porter said.
Good Style Shop operates on a simple notion.
“Good old-fashioned saving, good old-fashioned tree-shaking. You know, digging for stuff,” Benck said.
Benck is kind of a scavenger and he always finds potential – not just in clothes – but in people.
“It’s just second nature and it’s just a decent thing to do and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Benck said.
The store owner does what he can to build goodwill and sow seeds of kindness in the community. Here are some examples. Giving other vintage visionaries like Porter space to work and grow.
“It’s not like an antique mall, you know, where you have your stall that you rent out. I think it’s cool that it’s a lot more of this group effort to really pull it all together,” said Carry.
Benck mentors local students interested in the industry, features local artists on the walls and shelves of his store, and donates a percentage of the profits he makes to local organizations, like Porchlight – which works with the homeless.
“Everyone who works here, you know, is also very community-minded,” Benck said.
This is an example of a local business that does more than a day’s work.
“I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go, but the ones that stay are really active in the community,” Benck said.
And it all comes down to Benck’s love of vintage clothing.
Brady: “As an individual growing up, did people look at you or anything?”
Benck: “Of course, that was part of the fun. I mean, definitely, you have to be ostentatious to really own a vintage clothing store or just have a closet full of them.”
When it comes to clothing or community, it takes a certain person to see the potential. It may not always be in fashion, but it is a trait that never goes out of style.
“I think you should have lots of distractions and keep people happy in the community and I think that always comes back to you no matter what,” Benck said.
Good Style Shop is located at 817 E Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703.