Buffalo Exchange is a chain of stores where you can buy, exchange and sell clothing and accessories. You can simply buy second hand items, much like a charity shop, or exchange an item you have no use for, for something else in the store, or for cash. To make an exchange all you need are items to trade or sell, a bit of time on your hands and a valid ID card. Usually you drop off the items in the morning, and they can either call you later on in the day to let you know whether they want to make an exchange or buy your item.On their website they advise that you call your local store ahead and see if they are looking out for anything in particular. Buffalo’s mission statement declares that their selection is ‘an art not a science’. The people who work in these stores are passionate about clothes, and all of them (that I’ve seen) have a unique look and style. Every couple of weeks, staff at each Buffalo store produces a trend report with a list of key items to look out for. This makes Buffalo different to your regular charity shop as they are more discerning about what they will trade or sell. You can be sure to reduce your time sifting through ancient granddad pajamas and dodgy sweaters (although some might say these are pretty hipster these days). You also won’t go in to a Buffalo and see rails of Zara basic tees as they tend to stay away from extremely popular pieces from high street stores. You may however find some Asos loafers still with the tag on, or a vest from Theory that has never been worn. Items range between $15 – 60, designer jeans are usually a little more expensive. In the store in Williamsburg I saw Diane Von Furstenberg dresses, Anna Sui gilets, Marc Jacob pumps and Calvin Klein blazers – all at incredible mark downs. ACTUALLY AMAZING. My last trip to a Buffalo was in downtown Philadelphia. I came out with two necklaces, but I could have bought the entire shop.
In addition to fabulous clothes, a passion for style and individuality, the company also has a genuine concern for social and environmental issues. Their annual Coats for Cubs campaign, this year collected 1,450 used furs in just three months to provide bedding for abandoned or orphaned animals. Buffalo was also instrumental in gaining support for the Truth in Fur labeling Act in 2010, collecting 2,458 signatures for the petition. This act closed the loophole in fur labeling where items worth under $125 did not have to omit whether they were made of real or fake fur. Who knew you had rabbit fur in the lining of your cheap-o winter coat? Buffalo’s initiative and hard work have been very well received by the public and recommended by the Humane Society. It’s founders, self-proclaimed hippies Kirsten and Spencer Block set up the first Buffalo store in the student and hippie filled town of Tucson Arizona in 1974. Buffalo stores now exist in similarly ‘hippie- friendly’ neighborhoods and continues to support its communities. As such each store takes on the character of its surrounding area. As the British love a bargain and are known for the eclectic and individual style I have no doubt that these stores would work in the UK. The ethical nature of the company would also be received by the consumer public. Buffalo Exchange are now online (only shipping to the US- sorry). Hopefully it is only a matter of time before this great company makes it across the pond.
Golden Arrow Necklace, $14