When a need for environmentally-conscious fashion arose at Temple University, Klein College of Media and Communication students knew exactly how to take care of it. Miyalani Wagner and Allison Altobelli, both rising junior communication studies majors and classmates, discovered that they both wanted to join a student organization that resonated with like-minded stylish and environmentally conscious students. They decided to create Thrift and Flop, a club that allows students to transform their clothing so that they can practice more sustainable and affordable living. Following their launch at the beginning of the 2020 spring semester, the club won the "Outstanding New Student Organization" Student Activities Award, given annually by Temple's Student Affairs.
Wagner, president of Thrift and Flop, first conceived of the idea when she realized that she was not a member of any campus club that she felt fit her interests. Additionally, she wanted to discover ways to make fashion more affordable for herself and other college students. With the help of Altobelli, who serves as vice president, Thrift and Flop came into being, and its positive reception on social media and through word-of-mouth encouraged them to see it through.
"I just thought it was a niche market on campus that I hadn't seen before and I think that a lot of people really ended up resonating with it," Wagner says.
Students enthusiastic about fashion, art and sustainability were ready to have a space where they could merge all of those elements. Although Wagner and Altobelli believed they were setting their hopes high expecting 20 students at their first meeting, they were floored when more than 45 people showed up to learn more about the group.
The club's weekly meetings allow members to attend workshops that teach them how to get creative with their clothing. Supplies are covered by club dues and members are free to come to however many meetings they choose. Members were also eager to serve as leaders in Thrift and Flop, which now boasts an executive board and several social media curators handling the club's publicity.
With a roster of more than 50 members before the widespread onset of COVID-19, Wagner and Altobelli were encouraged to apply for the Student Activities Awards. When they found out they won "Outstanding New Student Organization," they were proud that their efforts were acknowledged so early in their club's development.
"Personally I found [Thrift and Flop] as a way to get inspired from other people who have so many good ideas," says Altobelli. "I feel like Temple's a hub of collaboration and so I felt like the club was really fitting for this campus because students are always looking for a way to learn from each other and to work with each other. So I feel like we've done that so far."
In the future, Wagner and Altobelli hope to connect with even more students on campus and collaborate with community sustainability efforts and local businesses. Their long-term goals include expanding to other colleges and universities, and eventually becoming a nationally recognized organization.
For more information about Thrift and Flop, visit their Instagram page.