Ambitious, Balanced, Resilient, Connected, Herself, a Leader: Madi Wallner, Founder of Thrift Generation

Changes to our High Streets: the rise of the independents: Thrift Generation

When you talk to Madi Wallner you get the feeling that you’re talking to someone whom all primary school children should meet before they start ‘Big School’ because she’s as excited as they are about their achievements so far and as daunted about the next stage but because she’s just herself you instantly feel that she has the talent and courage to do the next unusual thing! Madi is the entrepreneurial spirit of the micro business, a champion for the new, the different, the street of fashion. She brings it to you.

Etsy Shop isla_180x180-19981367_ka82qr05

Thrift Generation is a seventeen year old brand about to come of age in 2017. Madi is re engineering it for summer 2017, until then you can buy on Etsy, collect from the Left Lion and hear all about it from Rebecca Muress Fashion Communications and Promotion student at Trent


Thrift Generation came out of a fashion marketing project with a friend in 1999. (1999 is now itself seen as a vintage year on Etsy). Madi studied at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design in Epsom, Surrey. (now UCA).  She then went to Brighton.

The idea to upcycle vintage clothes and make bespoke fashion came at a curious cultural time where there was both and resurgence of diy and students were being encouraged to throw their credit cards at a final degree show as a future investment.

The two university friends found a good market in the student environment where they could sell in an unmediated way. They worked to promote the Thrift brand from vintage, working across universities, developing a UK wide reputation.

Madi has now returned to Nottingham to oversee the development of the brand and help to champion the micro businesses in the creative quarter, Sneinton and Hockley in particular.

opencity: The idea of developing the Etsy shop, linking  purchase pick up with the Left Lion is inspired!

Madi Thanks for that! Yes, I think people want better service and I love the styling element in fashion. People are really interested in engaging with their own creativity now, so it’s a great time for brands that can intuit this and build on their relationships.

opencity: ‘So it’s a two way thing?’

Madi ‘Absolutely!  Brands like Mimm (providers of clothing, music and art for the independent minded)  want to change the world: it’s all about creating the ground where we can all flourish and see something better and different. Me too!’

opencity: ‘I can see that. More people, more of the time changed by that creativity and energy’.

Madi: ‘But it’s also about businesses feeling that they have people, resources and opportunities to develop. The larger businesses have that I think. But Sneinton?’

opencity: ‘Masses of work has been done in Sneinton, arts, dance, community…’

Madi: ‘ And it’s never joined up with the rest of Nottingham. We need a Pied Piper to bring people down to Sneinton!’

opencity: ‘Ha Ha! You’re not wrong!’

Website / Shop:

Depop: @thriftgenerationmadi


Madi Wallner / Thrift Generation (clothing page)


@thriftgeneration /