KiKi Angus owner of Brainwash Thrift.
KiKi Angus owner of Brainwash Thrift.

Get Thrifty

Brainwash Thrift aims to be BIPOC and queer community space

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As social media influencers take over fast-fashion brands, those over by the Lost Coast may prefer to sift through bins to curate their closets. Thrifting, upcycling, and donating gently or rarely worn clothing and goods is one way to reduce your footprint and stick it to capitalism.

The owner of Brainwash Thrift, Kiki Angus, is building a community around fashion and inclusivity. Brainwash Thrift has been open on the corner of 40 Sunnybrae Center in Arcata since June of this year, and they are just getting started.

“Self-worth is stemmed from how you express yourself, so fashionable clothing should be accessible,” Angus said.

Psychology major Clara Lenihan found Brainwash Thrift through HSU.

“I discovered Brainwash from my sex diversity class. My professor had invited them to be a guest speaker in our class and I loved everything they stood for,” said Lenihan.

The donation-based thrift store is composed of two locations side by side and plans to open another one a few doors down for a queer-inclusive event space. If you are looking for more than a thrift store, Brainwash is here to bring you a sense of community. As an Indigenous woman herself, Angus is aware of her role as a business owner.

“On a macro scale to me [Brainwash Thrift] is representative of my personal life philosophy,” Angus said. “The idea of challenging your perspective, decolonizing the mind, freeing yourself of these shackles inflicted on us via settler colonialism.”

Angus, a transplant from the Bay Area, says when she moved up here she was surprised by the lack of queer bars and other queer spaces. Angus hopes to bring some much needed representation into the area. The walls of Brainwash are filled with photographs Angus takes including women of color, queer motifs, and inspirational quotes.

Brainwash Thrift is currently only donation-based because Angus wants to keep the inventory accessible and size-inclusive. On top of donations, Angus also travels for inventory.

I always make sure we have a diverse array of clothing and make sure we have plus size clothing,” said Angus.

When you donate your clothing or goods, the process becomes what Angus calls a “community trade.” In the future, the store has plans to move into a buy/sale/trade system.

But Brainwash Thrift is not only taking donations for themselves. Angus is incorporating Brainwash into the community by doing work with non-profits and local artists. Brainwash works with organizations like Queer Humboldt, Justice for Josiah, and Arcata Mutual Aid to help with donations, fundraisers, and food drives. Local artists that utilize the space to create their work, can expect a 20/80 split as opposed to the typical 40/60 split that many consignment artists are used to.

HSU students can look forward to upcoming college student promotions, skate nights, brown bags sales, and the expansion of the event space. Keep up with Brainwash Thrift on Instagram @brainwashthrift.

Angus, an Indigenous creative herself, has created a safe haven for herself that she is extending to other like-minded individuals in the area. When you enter Brainwash Thrift you can expect to feel welcomed and inspired. Her aim is to create a space where people can express themselves and love themselves.

“Those are the things we should value the most because they bring the most joy and love to our lives,” said Angus.

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