The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of KSS’ Student-Run Thrift Store

The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of KSS’ Student-Run Thrift Store
Photo of Julia Soleski with Swap Shop items in hand thrifty, (photo by: Vivian Bruce, on Instagram)

Written by Rosalyn Tiessen

         Kelowna Secondary School’s student-run thrift store – Thrifty Thursday –  was first introduced in the KSS Sustainability Club in November of 2021. The idea seemed to come together overnight, and by the 25th of that same month, the store was up and running. The intention of KSS Thrifty Thursday was to reduce the stigma associated with second-hand clothing within the school, and, although it has since separated from its origins with the Sustainability Club, the organization continues to do just that. According to Eco Canada, sustainable fashion is “fashion that’s mindful of its social, environmental and economic factors”, and the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions annually. With the growing trend of shopping fast fashion, the need for a more sustainable option is imminent. The fast fashion market value was $125.42 billion (CAD) in 2021, and it is expected to reach $183.43 billion by 2026, making it account for 88% of the American clothing industry and 18% of the $551.4 billion global apparel industry. It is imperative that we take action for our planet, and it is vital that we, as young people, are the ones to do it. I met with Julia Soleski, the store’s current online organizer and leader, and she explained to me that prior to the opening of ‘Thrifty Thursday’ it was rare to hear anything about buying second-hand clothing in the halls of KSS – something that the members of the Sustainability Club were motivated to change. The Thrifty Thursday group – now supported as well by the Sustainability Leadership course at KSS – has been met with huge success at KSS. Through their consistent attendance and unique expansions – such as the Swap Shop, where students can donate clothing and receive a ticket which allows them to pick one item from the store in exchange; no matter the price difference – KSS Thrifty Thursday has maintained a steady and confident presence at KSS for almost two years. As winners of the 2022 Sustainable Development Challenge (SCD), KSS Thrifty Thursday received $1000 to put toward making “student sustainable projects a reality” (SDC Winning Teams 2022), which they still have over half of today. The nonprofit store also donates all its proceeds to local charities in Kelowna, and in June of 2022 the student-run organization was able to donate $1000 to a Kelowna women’s shelter, an incredible feat after less than a year of being open. In the future, KSS Thrifty Thursday hopes to show other Okanagan schools the importance of sustainability, and the possibility of starting similar organizations and clubs within their own communities. Since the store has shown such tremendous success, there is no doubt that these efforts will be met with overwhelming support. 


Works Cited


Lee, Thomas. “Fast fashion is hot. It’s also making the world hotter.” The Business of Business, Thinknum, 20 April 2022, billion%20 global,research%20for%20Business%20 Research%20Company .


Lin, Audrey. “Driven to shop: The Psychology of Fast Fashion” Earth Day, 17 Aug. 2022,,they%20are%20no%20 longer%20wanted .


Martin, Brittany. “Two things sustainability experts want you to do about fast fashion” Vegetarian Times, 13 May 2022, .


Smith, P. “Fast fashion market value forecast worldwide 2021-2026” Statista, 28 March 2023, .


Wilson, Aaron. “What Is Sustainable Fashion?” ECO Canada, 20 Oct. 2021, 


“Winning Teams” Sustainable Development Challenge, 2022, .


Work Bank Group. “How much do our wardrobes cost the environment?” Work Bank, 08 Oct. 2019, total%20 fiber%20input,flights%20and%20 maritime%20 shipping%20 combined .

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