Thrifty fashion, thriving Utah businesses


Marketgoers peruse the contents of the cloth bins at the city+flea+market+at+Salt+Lake+City+Gateway+on+Sunday%2C+June+11%+.  2C+2023

Marco Lozzi

Marketgoers browse the contents of wardrobes during the City Flea Market on Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Salt Lake City’s Gateway. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Despite the unusual weather here in Utah, summer is in its final throes. As the weather warms and children have less to do, markets and events are popping up across the country. One such market event is the Urban Flea Market in downtown Salt Lake City, which runs through the center of Gateway. At this monthly market, vendors come from all over to celebrate the creative, literary and imaginative community. Local businesses dreams come true and collectors rave about their finds, all while finding a beautiful coin.

A person’s waste

Most of what is sold in the marketplace is underground. That’s oddball knickknacks, creations made from pre-existing items or clothing (which includes most of what I’ve seen). There were thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these items of clothing, many of which the sellers had collected over years, if not decades. Every used yarn I saw had a unique color to it, not because they were different from store-bought yarns, but because of the stories attached to them.

Where did this bag get the straps? How was that flowery deer head made? What would Stevie Nicks want to wear this shirt?

But the icing on the cake is knowing that the shopping I do is good for the environment. With more than 100 billion garments being created each year, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Doing my part to save the planet from further waste won’t fix the fashion industry’s problems, but it will help ease the environmental fight—one pair of jeans at a time.

Marketgoers look at vinyl records during the City Flea Market on Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Another’s wealth

Another aspect of a flea market that I love to see is the platform it provides to local businesses. I was lucky enough to talk to a few vendors at Foley Market to ask about their experiences.

The first salesperson I spoke with was Heidi from Chesley Jewelry, a jeweler located in Tooele. Started five years ago as a hobby by Heidi and her husband, the shop sells silver and gemstone rings, some of which are custom pieces. Heidi first applied to enter the City Flea Market in February 2022 and has been following it ever since. “It’s a great show,” she said. “You can get your name out there, and I get a lot of clients from here.”

The next salesperson I spoke to was the owner, Lexi. Sassy Crue Creations. This was her first time at a flea market, as the usual event is at motorcycle events. She recently quit her job at a law firm and named her company after her dog, Cruella, to keep up with her mischievous nature. She now sells earrings, hats, shirts and other items from her personal experience.

“I’ve learned that there aren’t as many people out there as I am, so I have to call a lot,” Lexi said. Since it’s her first time at the flea market, she hopes it will give her the opportunity to meet more customers who share her same fashion sense.

Visit their Facebook page or website for updates on the City Flea Market and to support sustainable and local businesses.

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