Name: Aileen T.
Major: Product Design
Why did you decide to study product design? I wanted to do something that had to do with art, but something that would also get me a job after graduation. I love the idea of designing furniture because I love decorating my room and houses.
Does what you study influence how you dress? A little bit because fashion does have to do with creating something and marketing it. The idea of clothing and product design are similar.
Aileen sports an all thrifted look with pieces from Goodwill, Value Village and Teen Challenge in Portland.
How did you get into thrifting? Through my grandma and my sister. My sister shops a lot, and we just started doing it together.
Do you go thrifting with your grandma a lot? Yeah. She’s my thrifting friend.
Do you pick out clothes for each other? Yeah she always picks out clothes for me.
Does she pick out things you actually like? Occasionally. Most of it’s pretty good, actually. It’s a fun thing to do together, and it’s fun to pick things out and get excited about throwing things together.
What do you love about thrifting? I love all the unique finds: I know that I won’t run into someone wearing the same thing as me. It’s fun.
Do you have a memorable recent thrift find? I got these green and white bell-bottoms. They are really fun.
At a thrift store, what attracts you to a specific garment? Since I’ve thrifted for a long time, my eyes catch things that I know I’ll wear.
How has your style changed over time? I’ve gotten more comfortable wearing certain things. Also my clothes are comfortable, but they’re also nice.
What do you mean by that? I wear a lot of loose pants. So it looks like I’ve dressed up, but I feel like I’m wearing sweatpants. I think pants are fun and funky. People are usually pretty simple when it comes to pants, but I have always been drawn to things that are more out there.Aileen rocks a pair of Timberlands.
Where do you get inspiration? I follow a lot of fashion stuff on Instagram and Pinterest. I also love TV shows: old shows like “Saved By the Bell” or ‘Twin Peaks.” “Twin Peaks” is really nostalgic and I like that vintage look. I love the colors on “Saved By the Bell” or “Fresh Prince.” The clothes are just fun.
Is there one TV character whose closet you would die for? I would say Will Smith from “Fresh Prince.” I love everything he wears.
Some people argue that younger people, when they wear vintage clothing, don’t understand the significance of the garments. What do you think about that? I realize that sometimes. Sometimes I realize that what I’m wearing is different from everyone else around me and realize I’m dressed kind of funny. I’ve gotten so used to it.
It seems that in recent years, thrifting has become much more mainstream. Do you feel less individual now? I think it’s really cool that a lot of people are into thrifting. I think more people should be into it because it’s really fun, and I like seeing people who kind of like the same style as me. I think I can relate to them.
Can you tell me about your tattoos? I have two. One of them is a boombox, and one of them is an octopus. I got the boombox because I really liked the look of it, and it reminded me of old TV shows. I mostly got it because of old music, like old hip hop. My style comes from that too. I own so many colors, so I love the kind of funky colors and patterns that are in that culture of music. The octopus I got because I love the details in it and the artist who did it. I just fell in love with it.
Is there something about octopuses in particular? I think they look really interesting, and I thought it would be a good tattoo because it is so moldable. It’s something I could have anywhere on my body and know it looks good.
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY HANNAH STEINKOPF-FRANK, @HSTEINKOPFFRANK