Vintage clothing is both the past and the future

From celebrities to the streets of New York, vintage’s comeback to fashion has been celebrated amongst millennials.

I get it, you don’t have a lot to spend. H&M, maybe Forever 21 or Zara seems like the perfect place to go. $10.99? What a steal! You just want some new clothes for the season, no better solution needed. But there is a better one… it’s vintage.

Everyone wants to buy clothes for cheap, that’s a fact. But to achieve such thing, millennials and the younger generation turn straight to fast-fashion stores for a deal. Quite often, consumers don’t see the many ethical problems that revolve around fast-fashion including unsafe working conditions and the use of child labour, or how the affordability of the clothes can lead to an endless cycle of buying and disposing, contributing to ever-growing landfills. The fashion industry’s acceleration of climate change is also something worthy of concern. Used clothing represents a more sustainable alternative.

Vintage clothing has long been a part of fashion but it has recently been making its return to luxury fashion brands such as Dior and Prada. With fashion’s inevitable “5 year cycle,” there is no surprise that trends from the past are making a comeback. Dior’s revival of the Edwardian era with the Teddy Girls inspired collection is a prime example of looking to the past for inspiration. They brought back the 60’s mod movement’s bucket hat and men’s Edwardian leather jackets with a twist. Prada’s 60’s silhouettes was another throwback. The wide headbands and babydoll dresses were a major part of the collection and was somewhat reminiscent of the old French movie, Belle du Jour. Fashion’s play on the past makes finding the trends and pieces easier and cheaper at vintage stores. Happen to see the new Dior saddle bag released? You can easily find the old version at a lower mainland luxury vintage store such as Mine and Yours or Turnabout.

Celebrity influence is another driving force behind the resurrection of vintage style. Supermodels and celebrities have been photographed everywhere hitting the town in vintage designer pieces, with the most notable being the Kardashian/Jenner family. Kim and Kendall have been seen the most frequent in iconic vintage pieces. From vintage Mugler to Versace, the endless pulls from classic runway collections have given the public tons of inspiration for outfits. Flaunting their flashy outfits on Instagram has also undoubtedly had followers searching for vintage alternatives. Supermodel Bella Hadid has also been photographed sporting vintage pieces such as the Prada nylon bag.

With a handful of luxury vintage stores being favoured and frequented by celebrities, more of the same type of stores have been popping up everywhere. In New York, there are established stores, such as What Goes Around Comes Around (WGACA), and New York Vintage where celebrities are known to pull items from. Stores such as TheRealReal, which is mainly targeted towards the online market, are also making their names known with industry events and with the help of social media. The advantage of vintage luxury stores is the sometimes much cheaper prices on designer classics. As said by the co-founder and CEO of thredUP, James Reinhart, “Mass market or luxury, if people can find a high-quality product for much less, they’ll choose used.”

Nostalgia reigns supreme in pop culture, millennials have been called “the most nostalgic generation.” Vintage supplies that need, giving them a taste of the past where wide-legged jeans were popular or where the Juicy Couture Velour tracksuits seemed to be everywhere. The return of vintage has also contributed to the return of some heinous trends, such as heeled flip flops and the revitalized, high-fashion crocs, but we secretly wanted some of the trends of the past to return so we could pull out the colourful windbreakers and be hip. Because why not? It’s fashionable now! The inevitable return of old clothes to new fashions gives us a reason to keep those items around, just waiting for the day when we get to wear them again.

Millennials are conscious of their decisions and want to contribute to a more sustainable solution, rather than buying into the harmful cycle of buying and disposing. 59% of consumers expect retailers to create clothes ethically and sustainably. And since the fashion industry produces higher carbon emissions than the airline industry, sustainability through vintage is a big deal. 100 billion clothing items are produced only for 7 billion humans each year. The amount made is astronomical and severely surpasses those of humans on this planet. Millennials luckily have changed their view on wearing second-hand items with 64% of women willing to buy second hand products: it’s cool, fashionable, and helps the environment.  Any clothing that gets donated or bought at a vintage store helps reduce the amount that goes into our landfills. To curate your wardrobe, it doesn’t mean you have to succumb to fast-fashion. When you do decide to change it up, do it for the culture and do it sustainably. Choose vintage.

Image Credit: Jesse Yelin/Pexels

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