Jennifer Le Zotte

From Goodwill to Grunge

A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies

University of North Carolina Press 2017

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network May 15, 2017 Rebekah J. Buchanan

In From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), historian Jennifer Le Zotte examines...

In From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), historian Jennifer Le Zotte examines the movement of selling secondhand goods for profit and charity. Focusing on thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales, Le Zotte traces the history of selling used goods and clothing, from its questionable start to becoming a multimillion dollar business. In From Goodwill to Grunge, Le Zotte traces the origins of secondhand style as a political, economic, and social act. She explores the ways in which both conservative and progressive activists used secondhand clothing for political and economic gains. Starting in the early 1900s and progressing through the 1990s grunge rock scene, Le Zotte shows how buying secondhand clothing was an act of rebellion and empowerment for drag queens and war protestors as well as the use of rummage sales for religious and political activism for church groups and civil rights organizations. Extensively researched, Le Zotte’s contribution to research into fashion and secondhand makes for enjoyable and informative reading that grounds secondhand markets in a variety of popular cultural spaces.


Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative–both analog and digital–in people’s lives. She is interested in how personal narratives produced in alternative spaces create sites that challenge traditionally accepted public narratives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at rj-buchanan@wiu.edu.

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