ThreadBare, a gender-neutral consignment shop, tackles identity issues with affordable clothes

“At the end of the day, we are not here to celebrate sales and what we are selling,” co-founder Kyle Gunby said. “We are here to celebrate the person that is wearing what we are selling.”
MU students look through clothes at ThreadBare, a new gender neutral thrift shop Sept. 1, 2015, in the MU Student Center in Columbia, Mo.

After one year and two months of preparation, ThreadBare, a gender-neutral clothing consignment store, opened on the main floor of the Student Center on Aug. 26.

ThreadBare is a part of the Missouri Student Unions Entrepreneurial Program. This program allows students to compete for a rent-free space in the Student Center to conduct their business in for one year.

ThreadBare’s four founders, Zach Bine, Allison Fitts, Kyle Gunby and Gabriel Riekhof, hope their new business will not only be profitable but also change society views gender identity.

“Realistically, our physical bodies aren’t always our mental bodies,” Chief Marketing Officer Gunby said. “We have our own identities and we assign those things to ourselves based on how we feel since birth. Clothing was one of those things that we can do in a business model that is plausible while at the same time still attacking gender stereotypes and stigmas.”

ThreadBare also encourages people to have their own style and stand up for it.

“At the end of the day, we are not here to celebrate sales and what we are selling,” Gunby said. “We are here to celebrate the person that is wearing what we are selling.”

Every piece of clothing in ThreadBare is suitable for anybody regardless of gender, age or race. The products are also affordable — everything is less than $15 before tax.

All clothes are bought from a Goodwill shop and other secondhand stores, Parker Mitten said. Mitten is one of ThreadBare’s 10 interns.

“We make sure it is good-quality stuff before we buy it,” Mitten said. “We wouldn’t put anything in here if we would not allow ourselves to wear it.”

Missouri Students Association President Payton Head has already made four purchases from the store in its first two days in business.

“I think it is the new frontier for clothing options in the future, and I hope to see that this place gets the attention it deserves,” Head said.

In addition, ThreadBare is also a platform for people to communicate with each other. Everyone is welcomed to check this store out, meet new friends and share their opinions about gender or anything else.

“This store is a good way to bridge people together and make people talk to people they would never talk to before,” Mitten said. “If we don’t make a big change, we could at least make people rethink how they look at their life.”

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