If you walk down any high street in the UK, you will be bombarded with fast fashion. Cheaply made goods designed to capture the attention for a few weeks before a new trend comes along and the old stock is discarded. It is a constantly churning beast, attempting to keep ahead of the game and hit the mood of its target audience before they lose interest. But there is an alternative. Vintage clothing is the opposite of fast fashion, and it is quickly becoming a popular choice with shoppers who are concerned about the nature of the modern textile industry.
With big-name, influential celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Ryan Reynolds being spotted wearing vintage and extolling its virtues, the tide could soon be turning away from fast fashion. Now is the time to look more closely to discover exactly why vintage clothing beats fast fashion hands down.
Vintage is More Environmentally Friendly
Fast fashion is huge business across the world, and especially in the UK. The disposable nature of the offerings at many modern chain stores sees some collections being restocked every four to six weeks, and unsold goods heading straight for landfill. Greenpeace reports that the fast fashion-fuelled textile industry creates more CO2 every year than international air transport and shipping combined.
In the UK, an astonishing £140 million worth of clothes are binned every year, as many people increasingly treat their fashion as throwaway. Between 2000 and 2015, the average number of times an item of clothing in the UK was worn before it was discarded dropped by 36%.
Vintage is the opposite. Rather than adding to the piles of waste that are due to be incinerated, vintage clothes move on to enjoy a new lease of life. Sometimes completely intact, other times after repairs or upcycling. You don’t need to plunder the earth for new resources, the raw materials are reused and revitalised. Fast fashion is built to last for the minimum amount of time it takes for the next collection to hit the shops whereas vintage clothing comes from a time when they built garments to be worn again and again.
Classic Designs and Great Quality Manufacture
The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the decades, and that is reflected in the fashion we buy. Today, many brands look to minimise costs to maximise profits, knowing that the lesser quality materials will probably just about hold out until the item is thrown in the back of the wardrobe and forgotten about or, as often occurs, hurled into the rubbish bin.
The onus used to be much more on creating quality goods to last. People had less disposable income and the retail market, although always competitive, was not as cutthroat. When you bought, you had to buy well, and you can see the evidence of that in the standard of vintage clothing for sale on the Discover Vintage Marketplace. Manufacturers knew that they needed to produce the goods or they would miss out on a customer’s future purchases. This is why these pieces still look great and wear so well today.
Another advantage of buying vintage is that classic designs do not go out of fashion. Fast fashion seems to require us to change our look a number of times a year, encouraging us to ride on this constant merry-go-round of purchasing and discarding. With vintage clothing, you can keep a garment all year round, accessorising in different ways to suit different occasions and when wearing different outfits.
Stand Out From the Crowd with Vintage
Have you ever turned up at a party wearing the same outfit as someone else? It is the cliched nightmare scenario, but the advent of fast fashion makes it ever more likely. There are only so many shops and so many brand new lines being promoted at any one time. Buying vintage clothing means you are highly unlikely to find yourself in this bind!
Vintage can be a great statement. It is different and note-worthy, a conversation starter and allows you to stand out from the crowd. Whether you buy a full vintage outfit or simply add vintage accessories to your garments, you are much more likely to look and feel unique whenever you are around other people.
In a fast fashion world where shoppers are encouraged to snap up the same styles at the same times, you can be the point of difference in your vintage outfit.
History and Story of Vintage Fashion
One of the thrills of buying vintage is the story that goes with the item. Wearing vintage clothing is so evocative of the time in which it was created. It is fascinating to imagine who once owned the ballgown, tea dress or suit that is now in your possession.
Did they have to save up for it as a special treat? How did they feel when they saw it for the first time? Where did they wear it? All of these questions add to the pure joy of giving a new lease of life to a vintage item. Sometimes the seller can even tell you the story behind the garment, allowing you to feel a real affinity with the original owner through the mists of time.
Vintage fashion is about so much more than the look. It is a living piece of history, brought into the present and which will last you into the future.
Buy Online and Join in the Fun
If you are inspired to buy vintage online, take a look through our vintage fashion collections by using the menu above. Either browse by the type of item you wish to purchase, or look through the individual pages of the magnificent dealers on the Discover Vintage Marketplace and explore those fashion sellers that appeal to you the most. Every time you support one of our small businesses, you are proving that vintage clothing beats fast fashion hands down.