Updated: Sep 1, 2021
I have been selling vintage for 12 years now and I have often been asked "who are you customers ?" I have answered by explaining that people buy vintage for different reasons, so it is hard to wrap them all into one type. So let's see where you or someone you know fits in and let's explore why people buy Vintage at the same time.
One "Vintage is Sustainable"
This reason should be important to all of us and apparently in the next few years the sales of Vintage and Second hand clothing is set to increase hugely. The days of fast fashion can not continue without a cost to our future, so if we can as individuals make small changes and make decisions to buy some items that we can re model, re use or wear as they were intended then we can make a difference. Many items can be bang on trend and are often the original inspiration of the fast fashion retailer, like this beautifully made gingham dress from the 1970s.
The people that sell vintage are often small businesses just like mine and there are many customers that again like to support the small business, to shop local to buy gifts within a community situation. We as business owners in turn really care about our customers because without them we don't have a business. I really care about the packing and the packaging it has to be sustainable and it has to be done well and of course look the part. One of my first feed backs from an online sale was " I felt so special just opening my parcel" I was delighted.
Two "Vintage is Original"
So have you ever attended an event, an evening do, or a wedding and there across the room is a model in the same outfit as you ? With Vintage this can never happen, your outfit is often a one off or from an era when not so many were mass produced. I have heard that prom and wedding outfitters charge a huge amount to ensure that no two items are sold to an event, however many new outfits are the same style and colour in an almost uniform way from many high street stores and online suppliers.
This is fine if you want to follow the trend follow the crowd, however for those that want to look original, want to look unique and make an entrance then go vintage, no one will ever know how much it cost, and can not go and order it for themselves. I love to keep any history or provenance about an original piece as each vintage item has a story to tell, one that you can continue with its new owner. (sort of re homed )
I have sold dresses to be worn at the
BAFTA's, Royal Enclosure Ascott, Goodwood Revival and many other events and each person was quietly confident that they were the only person to be wearing it.
I love that, in fact I attended a wedding this summer and nearly wore a pretty high street dress that I had purchased the year before lockdown, however I decided on a lovely silk vintage dress and floaty jacket in my wardrobe. Imagine how I felt at the wedding when when the lady taking the ceremony walked towards the arch where everyone was facing in the same high street dress I had nearly worn (wide eyed relief that was me)
Three "Vintage is fun"
So you have been invited to a 70s themed party what is the first thing you do, click on a well known online site and purchase a nylon uniform pack for a seventies themed party. When you get there other people look so much better and are having so much more fun and yes they can wear the gorgeous, mad, fun vintage outfit again and again whilst your parody of the decade will end up in the bin. Well that may seem harsh but I know this happens as I was told about it many times by customers in my shop "Oh no I wish I had bought this for so and sos party and not that thing that arrived late and didn't fit me"
So plan and have fun is my advice, if you are going for a 1970s original maxi dress yes dress it up for the party with a big floppy hat oversized sun glasses and some high wedges not forgetting the blue eye shadow, plastic chain belt and love beads even a wig. Going of to a festival just pull out the same original 70s maxi dress wear it with your flip flops or trainers and pull your hair up and look cool and original.
Going out for a mooch around at the weekend pull out your maxi dress, put on some boots, a denim jacket, a wide leather belt and cross over body bag and you have an original quirky casual look.
Four "Vintage is Quality"
Vintage items are by their very nature at least thirty to forty years old, younger than that they are second hand. This means they were made in a different time by different methods, some will have been expertly couture constructed, some hand made by the home seamstresses who had great dress making skills haded down through the family. Some will have been made in factories here in the UK and in Europe where quality control workers would have inspected every seam and rejected any item that was not made to the standard expected. People paid a lot of money for clothing there was no such thing as fast fashion. Materials and notions (buttons and zips) used were made of quality metal, bakelite and glass. Items were faced, interlined, lined and deep hems which all contributed to the way a garment hangs, feels and indeed lasts.
Handbags had metal frames and zips, were made of quality leathers. Embellishments were quite different for instance 'Sequins' really came into fashion following the opening of the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun,
where garments embellished with tiny gold discs were discovered. The roaring twenties soon took on this idea and many dresses and bags were made using tiny metal discs, the main reason why not many remain as the metal discs were heavy and often tore the silk chiffon they were mounted on.
By the 1930s manufacturers developed a process to create a lightweight sequin using a coloured gelatine. Modern sequins are now made of mylar and plastics. The vintage sequins are divine they are smaller and have a beautiful quality iridescence and sparkle that its modern sister doesn't enjoy (she is very glossy and a bit of a show off to be honest.)
Five "Vintage is inspirational"
"What goes around comes around" I am sure you have heard this before and yes we do see fashion and furniture inspired by what's gone before. I have seen a vintage style dress on the high street and think, I have the original on my website, on examination of the original inspired dress one can see that the seams and panels are much more complex and the fit is so much better the fabric is perfect.
We can see in our home stores that so much has been inspired by the mid century and again the original is the best mix it up with a few modern pieces and it just sings.
So there you have it !
a few reasons people buy Vintage