From Telfar bags to Yeezy slides, fashion is a cultural staple in the Howard community. Many students are constantly looking for a way to stay stylish within a college student budget. So when one Howard visionary proposed an idea that would make on-trend fashion more attainable for college students, the impact was remarkable.
Raymir Johnson is a sophomore honors finance major hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In August of this year, he established a student based thrift shop aptly named TheMeccaMarket. According to the business’s instagram, @themeccamarket, it is “a thrift store where Howard students can buy, consign, or trade clothes, sneakers, etc. from other HU students.”
Though it was only established a mere month ago, the market has held many pop-up events in which students are able to buy, sell, and trade popular pieces. Among the extensive inventory you can find clothing from name brands such as Nike, Comme des Garçons, Thrasher, and Stüssy. Despite selling designer brands, the market resells all pieces for a price that won’t break the bank.
The most recent pop-up shop happened this past weekend, right between Howard West and East Towers, home to many undergraduate students. The event was held to celebrate the business’s one month anniversary, and was well attended. Doron Reid, a sophomore computer science major, was among the many customers.
“Yesterday, when buying a shirt, it was quick and simple,” Reid said. “The energy was amazing and it was a great turnout, and with an environment like that I will definitely be buying again.”
This is all made possible through a common practice called consignment. Consignment is an agreement between a buyer or seller where the seller is able to sell a product on a platform that will charge them a small fee. Once the item is sold the seller is able to indirectly make the profit from the buyer. Johnson also contends that this method of shopping allows for personal connections to be made among students, instead of purchasing from anonymous sellers online.
When asked about what inspired him to found the up-and-coming TheMeccaMarket, Johnson cites his early years.
“Truthfully, I’ve always had a vision for The MeccaMarket. Since high school, I’ve been selling shoes and clothes here and there to make extra money and connect with resale or consignment shops in the Philadelphia area,” says Johnson, “When I began to think about a career, I decided one of the best ways to make an impact in my life was to find a way to develop my community financially and economically. The MeccaMarket was not the original vision but in order to reach my final goal of a storefront I needed to begin somewhere”
In its first month of operation, TheMeccaMarket amalgamated over 800 Instagram followers and made over fifty sales. It has even expanded into a modeling opportunity for well-dressed members of the student body. TheMeccaModels is a group of eight first and second year students who will model clothing items that are set to be sold at the market, allowing potential customers to see the pieces before buying. This project is a collaboration between Johnson, and a DC based photographer and sophomore political science major, Latrell “TC” Canton.
Joey Louisias III, a sophomore business finance major, and current model for the platform, recalls what drew him towards working with the market.
“I think that the market is the perfect place to shop whether you’re into fashion or not,” said Louisias. “TheMeccaMarket is my go-to place to recycle my own personal drip and make money while doing it.”
Though it is only in the beginning stages, the projected impact of TheMeccaMarket is impressive. Johnson hopes that the platform will not only allow students to make their own money, but connect them with other creatives. Ultimately, Johnson is striving to make the market into its own self-sufficient economy that will be beneficial for all young Black college students.