The rise of vintage fashion and its advantages and disadvantages
If I put myself in your shoes, I can hear you thinking out loud what I used to think when I was younger;
why would I ever buy a second-hand clothing item if I can also opt for a new item that can be ordered online without much effort?
Well, let me explain this step by step to you.
Before we dig deeper into the topic, we need to define what vintage clothing means. According to Wikipedia, it is a generic term for garments originating from a previous era. I personally like to refer to it as old clothing that is being revived.
You should be aware of the fact that vintage is not sold in every store. You can find vintage clothing in the thrift store, in specialized vintage stores, online and in your mother’s or grandmother’s closet.
Today vintage dressing means something slightly more. It encompasses choosing accessories, mixing vintage garments with new, as well as creating an ensemble of various styles and periods. Vintage clothes typically sell at low prices for high end brands. Vintage clothing can be found in cities at local boutiques or local charities, or on the internet, and is also known as retro clothing. Vintage clothing is all clothing made between the 1920s and 1990s.
It may sound boring, but to really engage you and others into our vintage world, I need to start by explaining some things on the birth and history of vintage in a nutshell, so bear with me! I will only mention the relevant parts ;)
The rise of vintage fashion
Because, did you know for example that vintage clothing has been part of the world since World War I? I can tell you, I did not! It was used as an idea of reusing clothing because of the textile shortage. Interesting, right! Let’s create a quick and easy timeline;
Prior to the mid-1960s old clothing had not been widely positioned within traditional retailing environments.
The trend for “vintage” clothing as fashion exploded in the 1960s. Prior to this, the trading and wearing of old clothing had different meanings.
As the commercial constituency for fashion increased around the 1970s, the growth in trade of old clothing was incremental as the quantity of these goods increased.
By the mid-1970s, vintage clothing was an indisputable moneymaker, and big stores wanted a piece.
From the 1980s on, popularity in vintage clothing had some ups and downs.
In recent years, the increase in popularity for vintage fashion has become an alternative response to the trend for fast fashion, which leads to many people wearing the same items of clothing. Vintage consumers are trying to escape from this trend and create individual identities for themselves by wearing something unique that is often one of a kind.
In addition to changing attitudes, other factors that have contributed to the growth of the vintage trend include a change in values, the inclusion of vintage inspirations used in current designs by fashion designers, and in the trends marketed by the forecasting sector, eco-sustainability, the media, and technology.
Besides that, vintage consumers and vintage retailers appear to share the viewpoint of the movement towards vintage fashion that has been assisted by a reaction against mass-produced fast fashion, as consumers strive for more individuality in their styling and garments. Vintage fashion today, can be seen as a form of familiarity and stability against a rapidly changing environment. It helps todays consumers to reconnect with a time gone by where things were simpler. Today’s sustainable fashion ideals have emerged as solutions to the environmental issues that we currently face in the fashion industry manufacturing processes.
Nostalgia seems to have a vital role in vintage consumption, as vintage garments have the ability to represent past eras as stories are interweaved within the garments.
Why buy vintage clothing?
Now, I would like to invite you as reader to start interactive conversations about the most interesting part; the advantages of vintage shopping! Obviously-what a surprise-I am pro vintage, but in order to bring your true thoughts to the surface, I will also highlights some cons.
Feel free to add your own thoughts on this and/or add relevant missing stuff in the comments!
I believe and I have experienced myself that recycling and re-using vintage clothing means you are not only doing your bit to help the earth by discouraging the production of more throw-away fashion, but you are also getting a much better quality, unique and individual product at a better price.
Eco-friendly: Recycling and re-using vintage clothing means you are not only doing your bit to help the earth by discouraging the production of more throw-away fashion, but you are also getting a much better quality, unique and individual product at a better price.
Individuality: Why wear something that someone else might be wearing? You won’t see most of these items ever again so there is no chance of turning up at a special occasion in the same frock as the host!
Indulgence and nostalgia: Create some nostalgia, turn some heads, get a unique vintage look right out of the movies, create conversation and be seen!
As an investment: As vintage clothing becomes more collectable, rare and popular, the prices rise, so vintage can be a great investment for the future.
So, here is a little secret for you, look after your vintage items because reselling them might be beneficial for you!
Superior Quality: The high street will try to imitate, but you can’t beat original vintage — the quality is much better than most high street items produced today, plus many of today’s designs lack the originality and attention to detail which give a vintage garment it’s charm.
Other common advantages of vintage fashion are;
- being able to loo for individuality instead of mass manufactured garments
- offers better quality and styles than you would find in regular shops
- allows consumers to mix in elements of the past with contemporary clothing to create new identities.
- allows you to become your own designer as they alter styles and have the ability to fashion an outfit that might not necessarily be considered on trend by the fashion industry.
- can be viewed as a part of consumer interest in ethical clothing as it is considered as a form of recycling and reusing fashion.
- allows you to be able to find items that are not commonly produced.
- prices are often only a fraction in comparison to new items
- often more durable and greener
- as soon as you go vintage, you support your local economy!
Speaking of myself, my personal biggest disadvantage is that I am sometimes struggling to find my size, the sizing options are limited.
My tip for you, visit the shop during peak-off hours, you have way more time and rest to look for your sizes!
Other disadvantages summarized;
- it may have some form of damage
- items are irreplaceable; if your ultimate favourite pair of jeans decides to give up, you will not be able to find the same one
- it is hard to find out whether an item is overpriced
- it can be more time consuming
- it might not feel as clean as new fashion items
- poor lightning in fitting rooms
- limited return policy
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Looking at the story I just wrote, I can image that the barrier of switching to vintage shopping might be a bit high. My advice for you is to start, step by step. Little steps are progress as well!
Buying 1 vintage item instead of a new one already makes you as an individual positively influencing our environment. And I can tell you, once you find that golden item, you will not regret it! But, more on this later.
Vintage clothes may not last forever, but the category is the thing that is here to stay. And hey, if you want to wrap yourself in vintage’s birth, you can still get those 1920s raccoon coats, by the way! ;)
That was it for today! These were the basics of vintage shopping, not the most interesting part-I have to admit- but very important to take into consideration if it is up to me.
Next time, I will be talking about the extensive process of vintage clothing in more detail, so stay tuned!
Follow me on Instagram @ut_vintageclothing :)
Source; the rise of The Rise of Vintage Fashion and the Vintage Consumer, by Tracy Diane Cassidy and Hannah Rose Bennett