Feeling thrifty

By Lauren Edwards

Vintage: Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind.

Last weekend, my friend and I attended a ‘vintage kilo sale’, courtesy of worththeweightvintage. As proud, second-hand clothing shoppers, we are often happy to trawl through the racks of our local charity shops and dig out a bargain or two. So, when faced with a church hall stacked with preloved treasure, there was no hesitation.

The concept is, you purchase an affordable entrance ticket, and then, on arrival, you are provided with a clear bin liner, to which you can fill with your vintage haul and then the final sum to be calculated according to the weight of the bag.

It was indeed a treasure trove of clothing, with rails upon rails of denim, shell suits (students congregated in this area – not us), tea dresses, kimonos (incredible floor length creations), coats and much, much more. The clothing labels were unfamiliar, and some items were clearly handmade, but nothing was at all dull. Although, with no price labels, it was easy to just fill up your bag with no regard to how much you were actually spending.

We encouraged each other to step outside of our comfort zone and choose daring patterns, bright colours and to ‘not leave a batwing behind’. We caressed the kimonos and discussed at length how we could incorporate one into our lives. My friend found me the most impressive Converse high-tops and I was even able to put my squeamish ‘can I walk in another person’s shoes’ fears to one side and pop them in my bag.

Once we had done a few laps of the church hall, our bags weighed in at just over 3 kilos each, priced at around £40. There were a few dresses that will need quite a bit of alteration (impulsively bought perhaps due to the espresso martinis that we quaffed beforehand…) We swapped a few outfits between us, and our local charity shops will end up with a couple of our original ‘Jacques Billai’ dresses, but, generally, we were very happy with our haul, and it was a brilliant day.

Buying someone else’s house or car second hand is completely acceptable. A ‘listed building’ has history and character, a used car is a practical purchase, so why not see second-hand clothing as fashionable?

My teenage daughter and her friends have just started to venture into ‘vintage shops’, renaming the ‘charity’ part apparently is what you do now. They are of a generation that understand the impact of clothing bought from high street brands has on the environment.

Resale site Thredup predict that the resale market will be bigger than fast fashion by 2029. Asda are currently testing out second-hand clothing in 50 of their supermarkets and fashion website ASOS, having already embraced the trend with their vintage marketplace, have recently reported a rise of 92% in their vintage clothing sales.

FRENDO&SHACK are a new business, bringing a unique idea to the preloved clothing market. Launched by two friends, Beth as a psychologist explores how to encourage shoppers to ditch fast fashion and try shopping pre-loved clothing. Anna, the designer, analyses the upcoming seasonal trends and selects the pieces, which are beautifully designed in high quality materials to ensure that they last.

Together, they offer a bespoke operation of trawling second-hand shops and resale websites, on your behalf, to find key pieces of clothing which they will clean, repair and use to create outfits that can be posted direct to your home. Their clients can purchase a box of up to 5 products which have been carefully selected and tailor made according to the specifications they have discussed. 

“We are combining our skills to reduce the devastating impact of fast fashion waste by curating premium pre-loved outfits and offering them at fast fashion prices. We believe that a well designed, high quality piece can last a lifetime.”

Frendo&Shack.com

When I was a child, my Mum and I used to go to a lot of ‘jumble sales’. They were always in the local scout hall. Bags of clothing, shoes, toys, and bric-a-brac were donated, and local parents would man wallpaper paste tables and help sell other people’s wares in order to raise money for our local community. My Mum would help out and grab bargains along the way for us all. I and the other children, that had been dragged along with their helper parents, would sit beneath the tables drinking strong orange squash, eating custard creams and ‘testing’ out the toys.

My Mum said that jumble sales were a lifeline for her and many other families. They were straight up second-hand clothing sales; we didn’t call the clothes vintage and there was a bit of stigma of wearing ‘jumble clothing’. But there was no shame really. And there was no difference between the jumble sales of my childhood to the vintage fairs of today, the marketing of these events has just improved.

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