Or: How I learnt to stop worrying and love vintage
My interest in vintage, recycling and second hand clothes was mainly piqued while at university in London last year. I attended a fantastic lecture by Elizabeth Laskar of the Ethical Fashion Forum, a UK based industry body for sustainable fashion that inspired me to learn more about the environmental impact of fast fashion.
In fact, many today are getting increasingly aware how buying a T-shirt the price of a latte or shopping a dress for a Saturday night out has other consequences, overflowing landfills only being one of them. I discovered designers who were using ‘upcycling’ as a concept to reuse discarded clothes to make completely new designs. Stores such as Marks and Spencer were buying back garments from shoppers!
I picked sustainable fashion and vintage as the topic for my final thesis and while researching I spoke to a few vintage store owners in London. My favourites – Rokit and Bang Bang. Stores such as these are putting used clothes back into the fashion cycle, selling them to vintage lovers at low prices.
Then there is the posh William Vintage on Marylebone Street (PS: there is also a little French bakery on the same street where you must eat the orange and carrot mascarpone cake). On appointment, you can browse through a collection of vintage Dior, Balenciaga, Ossie Clark and more, curated by William Banks-Blaney, dubbed the vintage king by Vogue. Of course, there is a massive difference in the approach and clientèle of these stores but the concept of reusing remains the same.
A friend from uni also took me along on his vintage shopping spree. The gorgeous Serbian had a wardrobe that sported the best labels – Gucci man bags and Hermes scarves amongst them. While a lot of it was bought full-price, much of it wasn’t. He usually had a bagful of designer clothes that he would exchange at his favourite vintage store in Soho for new designer clothes. His drug was finding that good-as-new Marc Jacobs T-shirt for 60 quid and having a completely new wardrobe every few months. And finally I found out how he managed to look so expensively dressed on a student budget.
Which brings me to my project!
Since I am currently only partly employed and unable to afford shopping, I am going to ask friends and countrywomen to lend.. or well, give me their old clothes, shoes, accessories. Clothes that are not hanging in their wardrobes but clothes they are hanging on to, for sentimental reasons, or any other justification we give ourselves to still keep that 5 year-old dress that we have worn only twice. I am asking them to let go and promising them to love their stuff like my own and put it to good use (more on that later).
The best part about this for me is interacting with women from different walks of life, and making that connection over our mutual love for fashion. I hope to meet as many women as possible and understand how they have fun with fashion, their attachment to clothes, their purging habits, their shopping habits and what they usually do with clothes they don’t use anymore.
PS: Wondering about the name of the blog yet? I hope you are. Explanations in the next post. (Hint: AdR)