Join in the Pre-loved and Vintage Fashion Furore!
Written by Katherine Pickles and edited by Alison Jane Reid
A movement for change is emerging from the fashion world. Not only are stylish shopaholics becoming more eco-conscious, as well as price-tag conscious, many of us are tiring of repetitive, one-season-wonder garments and are yearning, instead, for exquisite couture fabrics with timeless elegance. This is where pre-loved, vintage clothes are rising above the rest by allowing you to be a time traveller to reflect different eras and admire the preciousness of the fine fabrics made from quality craftmanship. A simple trait that fast fashion has never possessed. Pre-loved provides escapism: from a timeless 60s Levi denim jacket found in a vintage haven, Rokit, to a luxurious, deep rose, silk Valentino evening gown from Vestiaire Collective. Pre-loved is emerging from a sea of fast fashion and becoming the protagonist of the new and sustainable fashion globe.
Part of the success of this phenomenon is owed to the rebranding of dull, dated terms such as second hand, pre-worn and hand-me-down into fabulous ‘pre-loved’ and ‘vintage couture’, encouraging clothes lovers to join in the sustainable fashion furore. It is an aspirational vision, which taps into each of our natural desires.
The growing number of pre-loved companies are distancing themselves from archaic visions of substandard, shabby, cheap clothing and transforming into a spectacle of vintage glamour with an eternal range of materials, styles and embellishments. We are now asking ourselves what signifies true fashion; is it consistent fast fashion with changing trends that leaves unsold and unwanted clothes to be forgotten or tossed into landfill? Or is it about revamping styles into something timeless or upcycling the material into a contemporary masterpiece?
Fast fashion is straying away from being a necessity, or even a desire, as Livia Firth portrayed when she embraced glamorous sustainability in an upcycled gown from 11 individual 1930s dresses to wear to the Oscars. What an exquisite example of timeless beauty! Emma Watson also evoked the romanticism in reflecting a different era as she shone in a vintage LBD with a feathered skirt and backless lace bodice to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Paired with a pixie haircut, she was the embodiment of the fabulous 60s era.
For fashion lovers, discovering a one-of-a-kind, bespoke, vintage masterpiece in the depths of an antique emporium is truly priceless in the unexpectedness of it, but evokes such joy in finding something with perhaps a magical story behind it. A story that you are privy to, and can personalise in your own life.
Be swept up by the following inspirational pre-loved companies, both online and in store establishments, and get your hands on that Chanel quilted flap bag you have always been pining for, or find a one-of-a-kind bespoke treasure with a beautifully timeless appeal.
Discover a story behind your wardrobe and be a part of the authentic revolution and seduction of pre-loved fashion.
As well as the pre-loved king companies Etsy, eBay and Amazon, there are many other online and in-store opportunities, waiting to be discovered:
Vestiaire Collective is the embodiment of the increasingly chic second-hand market. Its market is pre-owned, premium products and is by far the most luxurious site for pre-loved masterpieces. Founded in 2009 in Paris, city of the finest array of chic, black ensembles, VC is forming into its own personal fashion social network with offices now in London. Its success comes from its authenticity. Unlike the bigger, overwhelming consumer-to-consumer corporations, there is no fear of counterfeit items with Vestiaire Collective, as all products are scrupulously checked before being sent off to the buyer. The protagonists of this company are the buyers and sellers, as opposed to the website itself. With advice on prices from the company, everything is incredibly just and most items are sold from 40% to 70% less than the original price, depending on its quality. From a stunning, silk Hermès scarf, to that Valentino dress, there are endless possibilities on VC with a current 10% summer discount treat. Open your wardrobe now to a community of more than 2 580 700 fashion addicts and eternalise your style. http://www.vestiairecollective.com/
ASOS Marketplace ASOS marketplace is ethical hedonism at its best, providing quirky, vintage looks to its global clientele. Aside to ASOS’ booming enterprise, Marketplace was founded in 2010 and has amplified since then. Originality is ASOS marketplace’s key, providing unique, vintage pieces from independent stores all round the globe. Having recently changed its image, their main focus is now on revamping the idea of a virtual market, and exploring individual vintage boutiques from Hackney, to Poland to Bali. Each boutique has its own collection with their Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter networks available for more inspiration and the perfect chance to shop originally and creatively. House of Jam is Dalston’s pre-loved star, with an off the wall ray of colourful creations, from a 90s summer turquoise and white striped shirt dress, to cosmic sun print kimono jacket. ASOS marketplace encourages fashion fanatics to meet their own style expectations and inspires independent, original boutiques to open their collections to the world. https://marketplace.asos.com/
BuyMyWardrobe.com Once a secret among fashion insiders, with exclusive events for recycling clothing, BuyMyWardrobe has evolved into a trusted online marketplace for buying and selling pre-loved, designer fashion. With a clean, pinterest style appearance, the site is colourful yet clear and easy to use. Sellers can list and manage the sales themselves, much like Asos Marketplace but there is also a VIP service available. Believing that transparency is key, each seller must sell their items under their true identity, giving a little history behind each magical piece and allowing you to be trapped into that Jil Sander dress’s story. There is also a ‘Stylish’ blog with mini listings such as ‘bag of the week’ and ‘steal her style’ to help you on your quest for the perfect look. My eyes are on the Ralph Lauren tan flat cage sandals selling for £115. Be part of the preloved revolution here: https://www.buymywardrobe.com/welcome
High Fashion Society Shop for your big brands here. An exclusive members only club, High Fashion Society is perfect for a classic Vuitton handbag or a pair of timeless red-soled Louboutins, saving up to £700! Unlike BuyMyWardrobe, High Fashion Society is not about the seller, but about the designer. All of the spectacular couture items have been carefully sourced, handpicked and closely inspected for authenticity, whilst all goods go through a thorough appraisal process and are inspected by experienced merchandisers. Most of the items even come with the gorgeous, original packaging, worth a lot in itself! With High Fashion Society, you can experience the same exhilarating thrill as purchasing from the luxury designer house itself, so why not fly back in time with a vintage Chanel medallion brooch, the height of glamour. http://www.highfashionsociety.com/
With a delightfully cool and crisp display, Tags-on is the designer re-sale site with a difference. It was founded by celebrity organiser and de-clutterer queen, Vicky Silverthorn, and the website certainly has a sense of organisation and tidiness to it! Tags-on or Tags-off, this site will enable you to sell your original, good quality designer items, plus 2% of the total sale price will go to charity. Tags-on also provides a dash of celebrity glitz and glamour with a regular Celebrity Auction where anyone can get their hands on a bespoke, untouched item from Nick Grimshaw or Eliza Doolittle’s quirky closets! Again, all the proceedings go to a charity of the celebrity’s choice. Check out the glitz available here: http://www.tags-on.com/
Manor Drive is another fantastic pre-loved online site, but this one will certainly not break the bank. Latest designer looks are continually available as well as certain exclusive high street picks. Whether you’re in search of some Ted Baker pumps, or a cream Prada shoulder bag, Manor Drive has a range of items available. Despite having fewer items in total, compared to other competitors such as Tags-on and High Fashion Society, Manor Drive provides a cost-effective fashion destination at the highest of quality. Built on a love of good quality, have a browse through another inspirational pre-loved enterprise: http://manordrive.co.uk/
Bang Bang Clothing Exchange
Moving away from the world of pre-loved online, Bang Bang Clothing Exchange is a fine example of physical vintage in the heart of London. Tapping into a growing desire for authentic and creative couture, Bang Bang reuses and recycles unwanted clothing and transforms them into new, contemporary designs as well as selling fabulous vintage pieces. With a simple idea of buying unwanted garments and revamping them to sell to people who do want them, the original inspiration behind vintage comes from this clothing exchange. The original Goodge Street store with its light and airy pink walls make shopping here a luxuriously pleasurable delight and gives you the real experience of running your hands through that exquisitely crafted McQueen dress and trying on a pair of 1950s pumps to match. Accepting most items and materials, excluding real fur and some exotic leathers such as snakeskin, you can call Bang Bang to discover some great prices on your authentic items. Visit all three shops for an unforgettable experience and I guarantee you will not be able to exit empty handed. http://bangbangclothingexchange.co.uk/
Goodge Street: 020 7631 4191
Berwick Street: 020 7494 2042
Drury Lane: 020 7242 9158
Beyond Retro With one of the most psychedelic and vivid Instagram profiles out there, it is impossible not to be enthralled by the incredible fashion visionaries produced by Beyond Retro. The company that hand picks vintage style clothing to conscious shoppers has fast become a pre-loved legend. Beginning the phenomenon with large scale, warehouse-esque selling frenzies in Brick Lane, East London, Beyond Retro has now branched out with shops in Brighton and Stockholm. It still, however, manages to retain its original, vibrant East London spirit and never fails to excite its enthralled customers. BR’s items are bought directly or indirectly from charitable organisations and, in order to promote sustainability, they have a policy that all resources must be used. The company have now merged their own creative ideas to reinterpret styles and upcycle materials into garments for Beyond Retro’s own label. This has now taken up its online stance in the fashion market world and you can browse the incredibly affordable and sustainably chic styles online. http://www.beyondretro.com/en/
The Real McCoy, 21 McCoys Arcade, Fore Street, Exeter, Devon Exeter’s own 2 floor retro emporium is a memory lane of vintage style. Go back in time to the Jazz Age and look fabulous in a fully beaded flapper dress to wear to your glitzy on-trend 1920s themed parties. From 1880s to 1990s, The Real McCoy has everything including a fancy dress frenzy, an enormous vintage emporium, a revamp section, and you can even hire! (See our rental piece here for more information: http://www.ethical-hedonist.com/buy-can-try-reap-benefits-fun-fashion-rental-services_7122.html ). The Pink Lady themed website gives you a clue as to how fabulous and fun The Real McCoy really is. So why melt into the background in your penguin suit when you can rock some vintage velvet flare and stand out from the rest at your next black tie event. After searching for this velvet number, the Levis inspired 60 seater café will be perfect for a well deserved shopping pause. http://www.therealmccoy.co.uk/
Vintage Warehouse Nottingham, 82 Lower Parliament St, Nottingham
For those of you in the midlands searching for some pre-loved glamour, the Vintage Warehouse Nottingham is another Beyond Retro-esque shrine to vintage fashion, not a far cry from London’s Blitz Vintage (http://www.blitzlondon.co.uk/) and Rokit. Open from 10-6pm Monday – Saturday, more than 30 tonnes of grade A vintage clothing flies through the doors each month. Flea market, vintage warehouse, antique emporium, whatever you want to call it, personalise your pre-loved style here.
The Northern Quarter, Manchester
During a 1980s fashion revival, a cluster of fine, pre-loved clothing shops began to spring up in eclectic confines of the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Alongside independent bars, coffee shops and bookshops, the array of pre-loved boutiques nestles in nicely to the charming, unique atmosphere. Pop Boutique is one of the oldest shops in the Northern Quarter and boasts not only a fine selection of its own label clothing but also kitchenware, furniture and fabulous retro wallpaper. Don’t miss the legendary Afflecks, either. The 2 floor indie emporium is home to dozens of vast selling vintage stalls and even has a milkshake bar on the first floor!
Pop Boutique: Oldham Street, Manchester
Afflecks: 52 Church Street, Manchester
Don’t forget the renowned Rokitof London where you can find yourself going giddy at the overwhelming vintage selection. This is the place for that lusted after ageless denim jacket. Visit the online shop as well as London stores in Covent Garden, Camden and Brick Lane. Try their fantastic Rokit recycled scheme, too: ‘style created with a conscience.’ http://www.rokit.co.uk/