It’s 9:30 a.m. on the Point Loma Nazarene University campus. Caf lane is the center of traffic as much of the student body heads off to chapel. At this time on many college campuses, sweatpants and a hoodie, with a just-rolled-out-of-bed look on student’s faces would be a popular appearance. This is not the case here. Students are already up, dressed for the day, serving looks down the lane like a runway.
There’s the girl strolling along in a multicolor, square-patch quilted sweater paired with light-wash jeans. There’s another girl following close behind, carrying her tote bag filled with books, as she sports a relaxed fit: acid-washed jeans with a shoelace loosely tied around her waist, accented by a light brown bandana tied around her hair. There’s the boy walking with his friends, all of whom wear similarly distressed straight leg Dickie pants that cut off just high enough to accentuate their crew-length socks and worn-in vans.
Of course, there’s the occasional athlete walking by in their sweaty practice attire, or the student who opted for a comfier outfit choice for the day. However, there is an overall theme of creativity in the outfits crafted by the students. Each person appears to display their own uniquely crafted outfit, with many pieces that would expectantly clash together, but feel matched in the sense of individuality and confidence that radiates off of the wearer.
This is the culture at PLNU. Surf shops and thrift stores are where much of the student body look to find pieces that match their unique style. PLNU first year marketing majors Will Freds and Jackson Matye’s style perfectly resembles that culture.
Freds points down, acknowledging his khaki workwear pants, paired with Men’s Boston suede Birkenstock shoes and a simple worn-in green PLNU t-shirt.
“I’m trying to get a mix of style. Once I moved to San Diego, I started getting into the surfer outerwear style. It’s more of a workwear,” Freds said.
Matye’s style is slightly different from Freds. While Freds ventures more into the surf aspect of PLNU fashion, Matye opts for a vintage, relaxed fit. His cobalt blue short-sleeved Stussy button up paired with loose navy work pants and white sneakers allude to his knowledge on the current trends of the fashion industry, specifically those of Southern California. Matye grew up with a father who worked as a sales rep for numerous brands, which is where he first started to observe the various trends he’d see emerge.
What unites Matye and Freds’ love for fashion is their appreciation for the self-expression clothing allows, specifically that of thrifted, vintage clothing.
“A lot of the clothing has a story behind it that fast fashion does not offer. You get to connect with different pieces that are not as easily available,” said Freds.
Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange are just a couple of the nearby stores students look to find cheap, recycled or vintage clothing that fits their style needs. However, as online shopping becomes increasingly present within the modern day market, its sales hitting nearly four trillion dollars globally in 2020 according to Optinmonster, it is no surprise to see PLNU students looking to thrift online. Freds and Matye found an emerging market, whose needs they could easily fulfill.
Matye and Freds started @Lomavintage, an account that has racked up around 500 followers since its initial startup at the end of the fall semester of 2021. Various thrifted pieces from the 90s and early 2000s spread across its feed. Once posted, students are given the chance to DM the account and bargain a price for the clothing.
“We started LomaVintage because we sold clothes online for years and shipping and fees from websites we sold on were getting out of hand. I also knew the students here at Point Loma had good style, so I thought they’d be highly interested in the clothes we had to sell,” said Matye.
His expectation proved true.
This community has expanded outside of their Instagram, where pieces are almost instantly sold upon being posted, to various on campus events, such as that of the ARC – Activities and Recreation Center on campus – pop-up shop, as well as the Flex Flea Markets and Homecoming events.
“I can so see you wearing that hoodie,” one girl remarks to her friend holding up one of the thrifted pieces hanging on the Loma Vintage pop-up shop rack located in the ARC.
Words of praise fill the room, with girls remarking “that’s so cute” as they sift through the pieces and boys dig through the array of work pants and vintage jeans that lay on the table. Others leave holding bags full of clothing. The room is filled with smiles and eager shoppers browsing alongside their friends.
“Loma Vintage creates a community that tries to combine environmentalism and fashion without a touch of money for our peers,” said third-year writing major Finnegan Murtagh.
The cheap prices Murtagh refers to, combined with the convenience of an on-campus thrift account keeps students scrolling for more.
“People love it so far. Sometimes we find old pieces that they’ve always wanted or different things that connect with their style,” said Freds.
Matye and Freds look for the pieces they sell at local thrift stores, pop ups, and through trading with others. The stitching and tags on the clothing reveals when they’ve found a vintage article of clothing. If the piece is crafted with a single stitch alongside the hem edges and sleeve cuffs, it shows it was made in the 80s or 90s, according to North Workshop. If the tag says “Made in USA,” it generally indicates it was made before 2000.
Casual compliments from peers on the duo’s own style, met with the frustration of shipping and fees from selling on websites such as Depop, has since turned into an outlet that serves the creative fashion of the PLNU student body.
“Sustainable shopping and fashion is huge at this school, so it’s an on-campus way of thrifting. It’s easy for everyone and affordable,” said second-year education major Emily Wilson.
For more information, check out the Loma Vintage Instagram account, @lomavintage.
Written By: Kylie Capuano