Boulder’s newest secondhand store Apocalypse breathes new life into clothes

Locally-owned resale boutique looks to reinvigorate Boulder’s fashion scene while combatting fast fashion

By Jess Mordacq Aug 12 2021

Apocalypse founder Madison. Credit: Apocalypse

Along with desperately searching for ways to fend off boredom and despair, my friends’, and the internet’s, desire to repurpose and refresh clothing appeared to grow throughout the pandemic.

Boulder’s newest vintage and designer clothing resale boutique, locally owned Apocalypse, which replaced national clothing resale chain Buffalo Exchange at 1813 Pearl Street in January, scratches that itch.

Madison Moorhead, 31, the store’s owner and general manager, honed her resale experience throughout the years. She’s worked at Boulder’s Buffalo Exchange, at the San Francisco and Santa Monica locations of high-end resale shop Wasteland and at upscale Boulder clothing consignment shop Common Threads.

She used that experience to establish a collaborative and fashion-forward culture at Apocalypse, which comes through clearly in the store’s rich Instagram account, and in the staff who man the store and often serve as models in Apocalypse’s Instagram photo shoots.

The staff’s outfits stand out upon walking in: a girl with black, cropped hair and light eyebrows with a short, yellow dress and metallic knee-high boots, a colleague in black-sequined pants and a lavender lacy blouse. The cashier sports a shaved head and twice-pierced nose.

It’s clear the staff has put time and effort into their outfits since some wear makeup and accessories, and yet the presentation seems effortless, accessible to most anyone.

Apocalypse’s rich Instagram feed features stylish photo shoots featuring staff and models showcasing the store’s wares.

In fact, that’s part of the store’s founding design.

The model + journey

Born and raised in Boulder, Madison questioned if a reused clothing store could work in such a well-off city. She ultimately decided such an establishment would give fast fashion, something monied Boulder has, a force to be reckoned with.

“One of my goals is to bridge the secondhand lifestyle to people who don’t necessarily need that because of finances,” Madison says.

A blue, plush couch, framed with ever-changing eclectic prints on the wall behind it, marks the store’s entrance, serving as a waiting area for customers who come in to sell their used clothes. Photo credit; Madison Moorhead

She has worked tirelessly to make Apocalypse a “cool place to shop,” as well as a source of relatively affordable, quality designer and vintage pieces. Blouses, sweaters and shoes align neatly and clothes, though brightly and loud, never seem out of place.

“I was kind of on this journey to understand how businesses were doing this, recognizing the downfalls and understanding how to be successful in this rapidly growing industry,” says Madison.

Apocalypse practices an established buy-sell-trade model. After Apocalypse assess the value of clothes that a Boulder seller brings in, that seller can choose to receive 30 percent that value in cash or 50 percent in store credit.

Apocalypse buys 97 percent of clothing, accessories and shoes from locals. The store’s remaining inventory comes from Madison’s estate sale excursions and buying trips.

But Apocalypse’s Instagram posts also invite local models and creative directors to reach out and contribute to photo shoots down the line.

Apocalypse’s in-store personal shopper assists anyone who might feel out of their element while browsing. The store also orchestrates private shopping parties, where staff pulls appropriate pieces for clients who don’t have the time, interest or energy for secondhand shopping.

Feature Image: Apocalypse fashion. Source: Apocalypse