In this ‘throw away’ society that we live in today, with over 500,000 tonnes of clothing going to landfill sites in the UK every year, it’s now more important than ever for us to start altering the way we dispose of unwanted garments. There’s no better time than now to choose vintage and breathe new life into garments that would otherwise be destined for landfill.
VINTAGE STORE HAIGHT STREET
There’s something romantic about vintage fashion; the stories behind the clothing is something that leaves me wondering about the wearer and their accomplishments, their lifestyle and the life changing events they might have faced; a 1920’s flapper girl, a 1940’s wartime woman or a 1980’s punk rocker. Vintage brings an element of discovery to dressing up, whilst filling wardrobes with individuality, eccentricity and quirkiness. Vintage fashion has an indescribable power to allure women into a whimsical, fairytale world where they have the ability to be whoever they want to be through the clothing they wear.
The whole idea that ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’ is something that is greatly championing the increasing profits of charity shops. Since Oxfam launched its online shop in 2007, after noticing a heavy increase in people typing ‘vintage’ into the site’s search bar, its online sales have increased by 400%. The site offers over 30,000 second-hand garments and accessories for women, and further collections for men and children too; engaging the whole family in sustainable fashion, whilst supporting a great charity who work towards ending poverty.
The increase in Charity shops’ profits have been felt throughout the sector with an overall increase of 12% in 2011, which partly could be due to the economical downturn. However, changing attitudes towards second-hand clothing could also be accountable, alongside the increased exertion of creativity, in terms of visual merchandising and advertising, on behalf of the Charity shops.
However it’s not just charities who have seen this popularity grow, high street retailers have also introduced ‘vintage’ ranges. Urban Outfitters has introduced an exclusive online collection, One-Of-A-Kind, which boasts one off pieces sourced from all around the world from past decades, following the success of the in store Urban Renewal collection featuring reworked vintage pieces, including Levi’s cutoffs, O&O dresses and jewellery. Meanwhile, Miss Selfridge have started to incorporate small vintage collections in some of their stores.
Unlike trends that come and go, vintage will stay around forever; they are the staples which have sustained the past and will continue to be re-used and re-worked for the future, and it’s this that has generated great popularity for the sustainable world of vintage fashion.
By adopting these savouring attitudes of our ancestors towards clothing, by passing unwanted clothing to friends and family and repairing broken seams, up-cycling garments, by adding simple touches to modernise them, or simply buying vintage and donating unwanted garments to charity shops, these changes, however small, will begin to make a huge difference to the world we live in.