Maggie West from Durham Fashion teaches how to ‘look good without paying a fortune’

Maggie West // Photos by Caroline Cockrell

Durham Fashion is a social media account that shares how to do fashion on a budget by thrifting. But this is not Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.”

Maggie West, who is behind the Instagram account Durham Fashion, posts her thrift store finds for followers to get an idea of how stylish you can be when shopping on a budget. West, a Durham native, also hosts pop-ups in the area.

We caught up with West at Durham Central Park after a recent pop-up shop event to learn more about her and why she got started sharing her fashion finds on IG.

Who is Maggie West and what is Durham Fashion?

I’m the founder of Durham Fashion. I am a lover of my family, my friends, fashion, travel, laughter, dancing, eating, performing, trying new things, being healthy and active, everything outdoors … I could go on! I’m an adrenaline junkie. Originally from Durham, [I] moved back about two years ago after Asheville had been my home since graduating from Appalachian State University.

Durham Fashion
West styled in a light pink flowered print dress (Salvation Army Thrift Store <$5), black and white sweater (Salvation Army <$6) and reddish boots (Father and Son in Raleigh <$20).

 

Durham Fashion is a social media account that seeks to share how to do fashion on a budget. It promotes shopping sustainably and locally. It gives my audience a taste of my style, where my closet is made up of mostly thrift store finds and the very little one can pay while still keeping up with the trends. Durham Fashion also strives to promote local business whenever possible. Lastly, Durham Fashion hosts pop-up shops to allow the local community to shop in this way.

Why did you create Durham Fashion?

Durham Fashion was born as a creative outlet — I have always loved fashion and being creative in what I wear and how I style my clothes. My mother taught me everything I know about finding the best deals. We shop together a lot, which is really fun!

Durham Fashion
Maggie West from Durham Fashion. Styled in overalls (Goodwill <$4), gold shoes (Pennies for change <$10) and a tank top (Old Navy <$7).

 

I never go shopping looking for something specific. I go shopping for the hunt! People have always been shocked when they hear how little I pay for my clothes. So when I realized that I shop differently than most people, I started thinking about how I could share this with others and here we are!

What are your goals with Durham Fashion?

I want to teach people they can look good without paying a fortune. I also want to inspire others to shop locally and sustainably when possible. Aside from that, I would love to somehow make Durham Fashion a full-time job one day. As part of my goal of sharing my gift of finding a good deal with as many people as possible, I started collaborating with my childhood friend Meredith Martindale of Preppy Gypsy to host vintage-inspired pop-up shops around Durham. Those have been a dream! (And incredibly successful so far.)

Durham Fashion
West during the Durham Fashion and Preppy Gypsy pop-up event at Ponysaurus Brewing.

 

There is nothing like finding a customer who loves an item as much as I do. I love picking out clothing for customers and helping to style them! I have plans to start selling what I find through other outlets as well. I would love to do things like personal styling and styling for shoots.

What’s your thought process behind the pieces you find?

When it comes to shopping for myself, I want to look original and not wear what everyone else has! I buy the pieces I just can’t live without. For example, if I find a loud patterned jacket I must have, I might picture it with a few other items I own in my head and boom, the vision of the jacket is born and I am excited about it. When shopping for others, I find pieces that I love and know others will as well. There is nothing like finding the perfect person for your perfect find!

What inspires you?

Durham Fashion
Maggie West of Durham Fashion styled in a vintage orange sleeved dress (Durham Estate Sale <$20) and a pair of high, light brown boots (Vintage flea Market in Austin <$16).

 

Fabric, patterns, color, nature, food, art. Doing the things I love, being around the people I adore and being in my favorite places. I am constantly inspired by what is around me. Observing how other people style themselves is always inspiring, too.

What do you love most about running Durham Fashion?

I love how Durham Fashion has given me the opportunity to connect with my community while getting others excited about shopping on a budget, shopping sustainably and shopping locally! I love when it clicks with customers and they feel confident in what they’re wearing, paying and how they’re styling themselves.

West and Martindale are working on details for another pop-up shop that may happen in early December. Follow West for updates and check out her latest fashion finds at @durhamfashion.

More photos of West and her thrift store finds

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