Thrift Shop Archaeology

When Macklemore’s song “Thrift Shop” went viral in 2012, the mainstream media exploded with talk of the up-and-coming artist. While the general focus on the song’s catchy hook meant good publicity for Macklemore, the message of the song seemed to go somewhat overlooked. Dawid Kobiałka, however, explores the anthropological implications of the hit song in his article, Popping tags: Thrift shopping with Macklemore.

In “Thrift Shop” Macklemore raps about all of the obscure and outdated items he has acquired by shopping at thrift stores, he also brags about how little money he has spent on them. Macklemore’s thesis appears to be in alignment with that of many other “hipsters”. Through an ostentatious presentation of his thrift shop finds, and by saying things like “Coppin’ it, washin’ it, ’bout to go and get some compliments” and rapping about how spending fifty dollars on a t-shirt is “some ignorant bitch shit”, Macklemore makes the clear statement that buying thrift store items, specifically clothing is trendy. Kobiałka discusses the similarities between Macklemore’s thesis and the work of archeologists, who work to uncover important artifacts of the past.

The concept of creating style from what is used and inexpensive is fairly new to our western culture. Not only are the trends of the 1980’s and 1990’s returning in the “hipster” movement, but so are the actual garments themselves. This is an example of how people are beginning to make meaning of their own physical appearances by reflecting back on the past, and look at how they would have wanted to perceived in a previous decade, and how they can portray that in the clothes they choose to wear from past decades.