Plato’s Closet recycles building blocks and designer duds.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Bargain basement deals were long a dying breed – especially when it came to brand names. Anyone wanting a cotton sheath from Banana Republic had to be ready to shell out at least a bill. Lusting after that anime-inspired tote from Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers line? Macy’s has it for $60, at least. With retailers going under and Americans holding on to precious paychecks, it’s hard to imagine anybody having the budget to stay in style.
Lucky for us, in Monterey haute clothes go for hot prices – up to 70 percent off retail – at environmentally conscious consigner Plato’s Closet.
After living on the Peninsula for two years, owner Kristine Milar realized many of her teenage daughter’s friends shopped at second-hand stores. “Those kids loved fashion, yet were so interested the environment. Seeing [their] dedication to protecting the environment and still shopping for stylish pieces put the idea of a consignment shop in my brain.”
With no prior retail experience, Milar worked, alongside her siblings and father, to set up the store. Despite the lagging economy, after the store’s opening in late August, customers have flocked to the shop for clothing, accessories and men’s apparel. Traffic is so strong on weekends she’s hired extra security.
Plato’s commitment to the environment is a bonus. Awarded a Green Business Certificate by the city, the shop features floors made of 100 percent recycled tire rubber. And (of course) the store recycles clothing. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says cotton accounts for a quarter of pesticides used in the U.S., not to mention the petroleum to create synthetic materials.
“I wouldn’t wish this economy on anybody,” says Milar, “but it’s got people saving their pennies. Here you can help save the environment, get great fashions, and not regret it later.”