THE RISE OF VINTAGE FASHION
By Fatima Ezzeddine Mayo
This is an introduction to a series of blog posts investigating and interviewing those on the inside of the sustainable vintage/preloved movement.
It is a topic that as an agency we care about and an industry that we work within. We feel strongly that we are stronger together, and want to share insight and information.
THE RISE OF VINTAGE FASHION
According to Wikipedia, ”Vintage is a colloquialism commonly used to refer to all old styles of clothing. In its modern use, it often indicates that the item is at least 20 years old. ”Over the last few years, vintage clothing and accessories have rapidly been increasing in popularity but, what is driving this phenomenon? In an article written by Tracy Diane Cassidy and Hannah Rose Bennett (2015), they state that “Amongst other factors, the current economic climate appears to have contributed to the trend of acquiring and reusing vintage clothing, particularly with young consumers. The popularity of vintage has also been linked to a change in consumer attitudes towards wearing and utilizing secondhand goods.”
In terms of consumer attitude changes, an article by The Guardian mentioned that “a study shows that, last year, 64% of women were willing to buy pre-owned pieces compared with 45% in 2016 – and it is thought that by 2028, 13% of the clothes in women’s wardrobes are likely to be secondhand.” Which clearly shows a rapid growth in the vintage and secondhand consumption. One of the key driving trends is the fight for sustainability, which is led by consumers being more conscious about the damage that the fashion industry provokes within climate change. As mentioned in a previous Slingshot blog post about sustainability, (https://slingshotlondon.com/take-action-now-sustainable-september-fashion/) a single t-shirt uses 2,700 litres of water to make, which is definitely far from ideal. Furthermore, a recent post on Vice UK’s Instagram claimed that 35% of all micro plastics found in the ocean come from the cheap materials in fast-fashion being laundered. Also, 10% of all carbon emissions come from the production of fast-fashion. Such statements definitely will make one think about their buying and wearing habits.
Increasingly, the extended use of fast-fashion has gotten rid of individuality. When garments are mass produced they are consequently mass consumed, this means that hundreds of people could be wearing the same outfits as you. For people seeking to express themselves through their clothing choices, this can be their worst nightmare. This is where vintage clothing comes in. Vintage stores, most of the time only stock one item of each piece of clothing, assuring the buyer that none of their peers will have the exact same garment as them. In the era of Instagram posts where you want to stand out in order to gain engagement, vintage fashion has become truly key. Furthermore, with the implementation of vintage selling apps such as Depop the market has definitely grown. Not only are people buying their outfits on Depop but vintage luxury accessories have really become the unique selling point of the app. Now that vintage items are very much on trend and with the counterfeit market getting rid of individuality even on the luxury market, vintage luxury has become the new it sensation.
Social media has also seen celebrities push the whole vintage luxury fashion trend, with people like Kim Kardashian and Duchess Meghan Markle showcasing their secondhand designer clothing at public events.
However, it is not only a stylistic choice but a political one. Choosing not to buy fastfashion has become a really big trend for people striving for a more sustainable lifestyle and protesting for the human rights of exploited workers that are employed by big fast-fashion corporations. Research into new consumer attitudes towards buying behaviours has found that people will definitely stop supporting a brand if their values do not match those of the consumer. Furthermore, the vast majority of people will buy from a brand that has similar values to them or that claims to be associating with causes that the consumers deem worthy of their support. With social media and the internet, most information is up for grabs to anyone that is interested, and transparency seems to be something that people really look up to, something that fast-fashion brands definitely seem to be lacking.
Nowadays for most people, buying secondhand isn’t just about the more economical option but the more morally correct choice as well. No longer is secondhand clothing seen as being inferior to buying new, but in fact, it is seen as even more desirable. An apparently, this will continue to be a growing trend.
- Sustainability – by reducing our consumption of fast-fashion we can reduce the demand and in the long run the production of the massive amounts of garments the industry produces, and consequently, reducing the environmental impact it entails.
- Individuality – vintage garments are the best and easiest way to make a mainstream garment more individual and full of your own voice.
The Rise of Vintage Fashion and the Vintage Consumer. 2015. Tracy Diane Cassidy and Hannah Rose Bennett. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.2752/175693812X13403765252424?needAccess=true
The Guardian. Is buying vintage clothing the most eco way to shop? 2019. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/apr/25/the-vintage-comeback-is-it-thesolution-to-sustainable-shopping
Slingshot London. TAKE ACTION NOW! SUSTAINABLE SEPTEMBER. Available at: