Visit queer-owned thrift shops

Out of the Closet thrift shop
Out of the Closet is a thrift store that gives all proceeds to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. They have locations in Hollywood, Glassell Park, Long Beach and scattered across the country. (Alia Yee Noll | Daily Trojan)

Avid second-hand shopping enthusiasts know the treacherous wastelands that flea markets and thrift stores have become. From the creepy for-profit Depop guys selling $200 Carhartt jackets to the greedy dropshippers, finding inclusive and vintage products has never felt so bleak. 

Not to fear, queer vintage spots are here to save the day, and your closet. With accessible prices, these five LGBTQIA+-owned thrift stores and flea markets are must-shop spots around Los Angeles to support queer communities. 

Out of the Closet 

Founded for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Out of the Closet combines healthcare and vintage treasures, with 96 cents of every dollar profit going toward AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s HIV testing and treatment services. Customers and queens can expect nostalgically low prices and multiple locations to choose from, with stores even stretching toward the East Coast. These vintage deals aren’t just in-store either — Out of the Closet also operates a Poshmark account. 

The best part? Every location offers free HIV testing, with select location containing AHF pharmacies inside.

So hop on bus line 2 to get to the 4905 Hollywood Blvd. Out of the Closet for a fun afternoon with the girlies. 

The Manic Pixie Dream Market

Rightfully advertised as “by queers for queers,” The Manic Pixie Dream Market has every LGBTQIA+ curated vendor you can imagine. From tattoos and tooth gems to furniture and fairy photo booths, the market aims to create a safe, glamorous shopping experience for the gays, the girlies and all of Los Angeles. Hosted by Fever Dream L.A., shoppers can find more LGBTQIA+ businesses and vintage on the website’s “Virtual Flea” tab.

The market is free admission with RSVP and will host its next event April 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. So hop on the bus line 2 to 1110 Bates Ave. and stop by for a tooth gem or two. 

Queer Mall / Feeling Space 

Isabel Osgood-Roach started Feeling Space in 2018, redefining repurposed vintage through her art pieces. Feeling Space is a vintage clothing site that re-dyes and paints thrifted clothes, adding a brand-new look to discarded textiles. Its designs, all cut and sewn in L.A., consist of bright, vivid colors blended together to create show-stopping pieces that can be spotted from a mile away. 

After founding Feeling Space, Osgood-Roach continued girl-bossing. In 2019, she started Queer Mall, a pop-up series of flea markets dedicated to bonding the LGBTQIA+ community and sharing art. Queer shoppers can expect to find a wide range of specialty products, ranging from top surgery pillows to sex toys to, of course, vintage. The quarterly event also charges zero vendor fees and encourages prices under $100, bridging gaps between consumers and business owners. 

AIDS Assistance Thrift Store

Marking its 31st year of business, the AIDS Assistance Thrift Store has persisted through coronavirus lockdowns and built a vintage safe haven for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Adorning endless racks of clothes and never-before-seen furniture, the non-profit charity shop also provides fund-raising activities, free resources and safe facilities for volunteers. And if it wasn’t clear from its name, the store donates directly to AIDS organizations, providing free furniture, clothes and other necessities for people living with HIV and AIDS in the L.A. area.

Situated at 2749 E. Anaheim St., the trek is worth it for the insane art collection and hidden treasures. 

The Queer Mercado

A tight-knit group located in the gentrified neighborhood of Belvedere, the Queer Mercado flea market celebrates the intersectionality between the LGBTQIA+ and the Latine communities. The market offers a variety of Latine and queer products such as tamales, art, vintage, soap and even musical performances. Diana Diaz, founder of the flea market, aims to unite the different communities of East L.A. and amplify both queer and Latine cultures. 

The next event, scheduled for April 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be entirely Selena themed in honor of her birthday. So take your friends on a day trip to the East L.A. Civic Center for some hot tracks and some even hotter tamales.