Vintage clothing has come back in style, and it seems to be more than just another trend.
We are starting to pay more attention to the consequences of our shopping choices, we’re getting over the disregarded immediacy of fast-fashion and we finally realise that vintage fashion seems to be the perfect alternative.
Old clothing has always caught our eye, there’s just something about the authenticity of a unique piece of clothing that makes us feel special, it makes us stand out from the crowd. But now it has become much more than that.
By going to a second-hand store and deciding to give a new cycle to clothes, you’re not only making a fashion statement but an environmental one too. You’re becoming a sustainable shopper and demonstrating that fashion-forward and environmentally-aware can go hand-in-hand, which with the current climate crisis should be the norm.
This revitalisation of vintage clothing has also given space for new generations to hop-in and take part, changing their role from shopper to seller or even designer.
Many are launching their own second-hand stores, either online with the help of platforms like Depop or physical ones where you can find collection pieces or re-worked ones like in the case of Re/Done.
We decided to have a chat with Flavia Lamaro, an Italian student living in London who just opened her own online vintage-store, to find out a bit more about what it means to buy vintage and why it is so relevant nowadays.
Why did you decide to open a vintage store?
“I always had a passion for vintage but the main reason for opening @yourvintagebro was to contribute to sustainability and the recycling of clothes… Nowadays, we still have brands producing large quantities of clothes under unethical conditions and in detrimental ways for our environment. I wanted to prove that you can sell and create without destroying our planet.”
How relevant is vintage clothing for the current fashion scene? Do you consider it more of a trend or social movement?
“The meaning of vintage has changed in recent years, it has definitely become more and more common in everyday fashion, maybe even taking the form of a trend. But I do believe that it signifies more than that, that it can represent being part of a movement for some of us…Through wearing old fashion garments or reworked vintage styles you’re also going against the current system, against the established ideas and trends.”
When saying ‘the system’ are you referring to the fast-fashion industry? Do you think vintage clothing will ever replace fast-fashion?
“Replacing fast-fashion is a very complicated process but I do believe that we are on the right path to do so. Fast-fashion brands are becoming more expensive day-by-day, and with costs increasing, the customers seem to be going somewhere else and considering new options… If you go to a vintage store in London you’ll likely see it fuller than a Nike shop, and that says a lot.”
Which are the most important qualities of any vintage store?
“One of the most important qualities is honesty above all. You’ll often come across vintage stores and sellers who take advantage of their market and sell unique pieces at an exaggerated price. People buy at vintage stores for the unique style but also in order to pay less, to buy affordable clothing. It loses its essence if you sell a vintage jacket at the same price, or even higher, as the ones found at a normal retail store.”
Talking about affordability, many argue that vintage stores being on trend has affected the possibility for low income families to shop and afford second-hand clothing. What do you think about this?
“As I was saying before, this is exactly the problem of certain vintage stores. Vintage stores were meant to be cheap and affordable for everyone, and that seems to be changing. If that is the case I do not want to be part of an exclusivist market, because that’s not what vintage stands for. Vintage means giving everyone the opportunity to own something unique at a fair price, what’s going to happen if we take this away? Vintage is for the people, everyday people, and should remain this way.”
Many brands, such as Sami Miro Vintage have started reworking on old/vintage clothing and selling them as high-fashion clothing. What do you think of this?
“I think it has become a way of taking advantage of the concept and trendiness of vintage fashion, because it completely redefines its nature. Vintage is finding something special in the old, and selling it for what it is. Reworking on it can be great but if you rebrand it as high fashion you’re taking the vintage out of its value. In my opinion, it represents a step-backwards in the vintage movement.”
Will you as a vintage store owner continue to shop from fast-fashion brands?
“Up to a few years ago I was just another regular shopper, buying and investing on pieces from both high and fast-fashion brands but this has drastically changed. Even if to this day I may find myself wearing some of those clothes, I don’t support that industry anymore. I only buy vintage now… I like the idea of wearing clothing with a past history and the possibility of giving them a new one. It started as a style choice but now it has become my lifestyle, I find everything that I need in vintage stores and don’t think I’ll ever go back, after all, it’s stylish, affordable and ethical.”
Flavia is one of many paving the way for vintage fashion, passing from being a regular customer and supporter of fast-fashion to acting against it through the opening of her own vintage business.
Maybe you’re not interested in opening one of your own, but considering buying vintage and giving a second-life to your clothing may be just as useful and even trendier, so why not give it a try?
You can check Flavia’s store here :
Words : Chiara Ferrari
Subbing: Ghila Evansky and Gabriela Jimenez