Urban Flea Market: Thrifty Fashion, Flourishing Utah Businesses


Marco Lozzi

Market-goers peruse the contents of clothes racks during the Urban Flea Market at The Gateway in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 11, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Zach Anderson, Arts Writer


Summer is finally in full swing, despite unusual weather here in Utah. Markets and events are popping up all around the country as the weather warms and kids have less to do. One such market event is the Urban Flea Market in downtown Salt Lake City, running through the center of The Gateway. At this monthly market, vendors come from all around to celebrate a community of creativity, eclecticism and eccentricity. The dreams of local businesses are realized and collectors flaunt what they’ve got, all the while earning a pretty penny.

One Man’s Trash

Most everything sold at the flea market is secondhand. That could be oddball knick-knacks, creations made from pre-existing items or clothes (which made up the majority of what I saw). Of those thousands, if not tens of thousands, of clothing items, many were from collections that vendors had curated for years, if not decades. Each used thread I saw had a unique tinge to it: not because they were different than what you’d buy in a store, but because of the stories attached.

Where did this bag get the scuffs on its straps? How was that flowered head of a deer made? What Stevie Nicks wannabe wore this blouse?

The icing on the cake, however, was knowing that the shopping I was doing was good for the environment. The fashion industry is one of the world’s most polluting industries, with over 100 billion clothing items being created every year. Doing my part in saving the planet from more waste won’t fix the problems of the fashion industry, but helps ease the environment’s struggles — one pair of jeans at a time.

Market-goers flip through vinyl records during the Urban Flea Market at The Gateway in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 11, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Another’s Treasure

Another aspect of the flea market I loved to see was the platform it gave local businesses. I was fortunate to talk with a few of the vendors at the flea market to ask them about their experience.

The first vendor I spoke with was Heidi from Chesley Jewelry, a jeweler based in Tooele. Started by Heidi and her husband about five years ago as a hobby, the shop sells silver and gemstone rings, some of them custom items. Heidi first applied to be in the Urban Flea Market in February 2022 and has been attending ever since. “It’s such a good show,” she said. “You can really get your name out there, and I get a lot of customers from here.”

The next vendor I talked to was Lexi, owner of Sassy Crue Creations. This was her first time at a flea market, as her usual setup is at motorcycle events. She recently quit her job at a law firm to pursue her crafty nature, naming her company after her dog, Cruella. She now sells earrings, hats, shirts and a slew of other items that come from her personal flair.

“I’ve learned that not a lot of people are out there as I am, so I have to dial it down a lot,” Lexi said. As this is her first time at a flea market, she hopes it will provide opportunities to find more customers that share her same fashionability.

To catch updates about the Urban Flea Market and to support sustainably and local businesses, visit their Facebook page or their website.


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