ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca has a flourishing second-hand clothes market, with the latest entrant, Evergreen Ithaca, opening its doors just earlier this month.

Owner Erick Hudson got into fashion during COVID as a creative outlet to share his style with others, with an eye toward remaining ethical, practical and sustainable.

With sustainability a central consideration, Hudson brought his business to Ithaca, opening Evergreen Ithaca’s brick-and-mortar store in the beginning of December at 609 W. Clinton St.

The store focuses on second-hand pieces like jeans, flannels, sweatshirts, graphic tees and jackets that still have lots of life left in them, and Hudson curates the pieces to fit into his nineties inspiration.

While stuck at home in 2020, Hudson said that he began searching for a new hobby and spending more time thinking about his ecological footprint.

“I started to think about how I can minimize the waste I produce, and I got into second-hand clothing, which was booming at the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

Hudson said that he’d always been curious about fashion, but as a full-time cross-fitter, he didn’t spend much time wearing more than workout clothes.

“I started to learn about different materials, the eras things come from,” he said. “A lot of people around my age, ’90s babies, they want to find a vintage band tee and they want to find all the cool stuff that is hundreds of dollars, but for me, I want to keep as much stuff in rotation as possible—some of my stuff is from the ’80s and ’90s, some of it is from the past couple years, but it’s all that same aesthetic.”

With the goal of mindfully creating less waste, Hudson said that he began to see the value in quality items that last and can be loved by owners after the original. “You can look at a pair of jeans and they aren’t like any other, depending on how they were made, when they were made, how much they were worn, they each have their own story. I love seeing the different designs and how you can style them.”

From sourcing to displaying, Hudson is currently operating the store solo and said that while it is a lot of work, he thoroughly enjoys doing it.

Creatively and selectively upcycling items that otherwise might find their way into an already overcrowded donation box, Hudson is always on the hunt for new pieces to display in the store.

Fair pricing is another important aspect, and Hudson said that he tries to price things as fairly as possible, with pieces typically ranging between $20 and $40, give or take.

“I try to keep things as fairly priced as possible. I don’t want something to sit on the rack for a year and only get looked at once before the person is turned off by the price tag,” he said.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is the digital editor/reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Joining in November 2021, she has covered a wide range of topics related to local news. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com,...