Jim Pfeffer, Photo Editor
Often times when people think of fashion, names like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada come to mind, but this isn’t the case with Ezra Bebop and Ava Fojtik, arguably two of the most fashionable people on Augsburg’s campus.
For both Ezra and Ava, the name of the game isn’t Thursday drops by Supreme or grabbing the best runway pieces from New York Fashion Week; for these two, it’s all about the less-than-$10 finds at the Goodwill Outlet in St. Paul or an unnamed thrift store in Richfield. Both Bebop and Fojtik would agree that there is something special about finding a piece that is vintage versus buying it straight from the retailer of your choice when the drip is fresh. The real question is, why does one choose to thrift over buying a piece when it is a new drop?
Jim Pfeffer: Where did you get your fit that you wore for the shoot?
Ava Fojtik: My jumpsuit was purchased through an app called Deeppop; it is an app where people can buy and sell their used clothing. I really like it because I personally love to thrift, and it has those lower prices but if I’m looking for something special (like a velvet jumpsuit). The fur jacket was from the summer camp that I worked for, so I hijacked it, and the belt and shoes were also thrifted.
Ezra Bebop: I was wearing light blue Dickies coveralls, a red turtleneck, my Obama hat and the yellow Charlie Brown vans.
JP: Tell me about the Obama hat.
EB: I was on the Augsburg website first semester last year, and it was me in the Obama hat. It was up for a few weeks, and then someone texted me and was like, “Dude, you’re on the website,” but then they blurred out “Obama” with a poorly done photoshop job on my head. I found the hat in one of my dressers at my parents’ house, and I needed a hat, and I thought it looked cool.
JP: Where did you get everything else?
EB: I thrifted the coveralls, and the red turtleneck was a gift from an ex, so I had to wear that.
JP: You both mentioned thrifting when I asked you about your fits. Where are your top-5 places you’ve ever thrifted?
AF: Number one is an absolute gem, and I recommend that everyone goes there. The St. Paul Goodwill Outlet, where nothing is organized so you have to dig in and just find stuff. They charge you by the pound so you can get a lot for a little. Number two is a consignment store in Sacramento. The store is super cool because all of the proceeds go to survivors of domestic abuse. Number three is the Goodwill outlet in Appleton, Wisc. I love the outlets because the journey of finding something is so much more interesting when it’s not organized. Number four would be Fox Valley thrift shop also in Appleton, WI. They used to have one in my hometown, but it got closed down, so they moved all the merchandise from my hometown to the Appleton store. I think number five would probably be a thrift store I went to in Ben Lomond, CA called Abbot’s Thrift.
EB: So I started out at a store called B. and at the time I was super into Atmosphere and Rhymesayers, and they had a lot of Atmosphere and Rhymesayers merch on the low so I spent a lot of time there, I was actually pretty heavily affiliated with them. Then my mom took me to this store in Richfield that I can’t mention the name of because she swore me to secrecy, but everytime I go there I find something that is absolute fire. The next spot is called Ten Thrift which is in this artists apartment in St. Paul, he sold a lot of work wear and grunge wear. So in London I went thrifting with my brother, and we went to this place that looked just like an Urban Outfitters, but everything in it was dirt cheap. I actually got this flannel there.
JP: Ava you’ve mentioned that you work at Urban Outfitters in some of our previous conversations, are you able to wear clothes that you thrift when working there or do you have to wear clothes purchased at Urban?
AF: So the cool thing about working there is that they don’t have a dress code, and so while we do get discounts we are not required to wear clothing purchased at Urban. So I take that as an opportunity to show off some of my thrifted things, and it happens all the time where customers ask if I got a thrifted or vintage piece at Urban and I just tell them no. Which I think is really cool because it can give people the incentive to go thrifting, and or think more critically about where they are shopping.
JP: So on a different note, a lot of people talk about having a kind of “AHA!” moment where they decided they want to get up in the morning and rather than just putting some jeans and a t-shirt on they “get dressed” to quote Mordecai Rubenstein. When was your moment that you decided you wanted to “get dressed”?
AF: I’m not totally sure that I ever had that. I know when I was little I liked to experiment and try new things. My parents actually never really dressed me, they allowed me to have a lot of freedom of expression, and so even when I was three I was dressing myself. I actually remember my parents got me a dress specifically for Easter but I loved it so much that I would wear it all the time with different things like jeans or overalls. I’ve just always liked to be very light hearted with it like when I was a little kid.
EB: I also don’t know when it started happening, but for me it’s really personal. I have a little bit of an ego so I love popping out in a fit that I feel good in. I’ve always tried to make use of improvising though so with all of my outfits I visualize it before I wear it, and so I’ll look at what I have and see if I can use it, and if I can’t I’ll go and find something like what I have in my head.
JP: So we’ve talked about thrifting quite a bit, and it made me wonder what do the two of you think about the “High Fashion” houses like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Prada? You both purchase clothes for super cheap in comparison to what those houses are charging for their pieces, and I guess I am just really curious about your thoughts on those brands and their prices?
AF: I think that a lot of high end stuff is very beautiful and I totally accept it as an art form. I think that for the people who can afford it the most definitely should wear it, and engage with it. I think that for people who can’t afford the high end stuff thrifting is an excellent option, because for myself I’ve noticed similarities between those high end pieces and stuff from the forties or sixties, so it is actually possible to find a lot of the same or similar pieces for a lot cheaper
EB: Well it’s definitely not reasonable for anyone no matter how much money they have to stock their closet with pieces from a brand like Gucci. So I think it’s kind of like Pokemon for me, I think when a piece has aged appropriately and people have kind of forgotten about it but the piece came from one of those high fashion companies that means a lot more to me than buying the piece when it first drops. Ultimately I wouldn’t do it.
JP: So Ezra you wanted to say something about your line that you’ve been working on?
EB: So I am a photographer before anything else, and this summer I found myself messing around in other artforms. So I got a sweater from the store in Richfield that I can’t name, but I wanted to put a picture of a potato on it. Then after that I started to conceptualize a line that I’m going to call The Vegetable Garden, where all of the pieces have pictures of vegetables on them. So this summer I’m going to have sweaters, a pair of pants, tees, and hopefully a hat. It will probably be my only line, but we will see how it does.
This article was originally published in the Nov. 30, 2018 issue.
Ava Fojtik and Ezra Bebop spent time with Jim Pfeffer in Lowertown St. Paul dressed in some of their favorite fits. Photos by Jim Pfeffer.