In the movie The Intern, Robert De Niro plays a seventy-year-old widower who applies for an internship position at a hip online fashion site. Not long after he gets to know his young hipster culture-epitomizing co-workers he becomes something of a style idol. They admire his vintage briefcase, his tie collection, an old watch and even his custom of always carrying a handkerchief. It may be just a movie, but art imitates life, and this movie is a dead-on reflection of the current trend – the trend being fostering love for all things old. But, the question that poses itself is – where did it all begin and more importantly, why is there a sudden collective obsession over everything vintage?
A research conducted by Institut Ipsos states that the rise of vintage and secondhand online stores, whether brick-and-mortar or online ones has been most drastic in the US, followed by UK, France and Germany. The report states that a greater number of women are now more interested in vintage fashion than was the case five years ago. What was once considered old and shabby is now being viewed in a new light, but again, the question that remains is – why exactly? The answer lies in a multitude of factors, and each one is more logical yet fascinating than the previous.
What is there not to love?
It’s undeniable that millennials are the biggest fans of vintage and secondhand, but they are certainly not alone. One of the main reasons going into a used clothes store was frowned upon by older generations is simply because after having to go through rations and restrictions during the war, they simply rejoiced the rise of consumerism, and left the ‘old clothes’ to those ‘less fortunate ones’. Being less rigid and abundantly more open-minded, the new generations (including both X and Y), have come to understand that a) there is nothing ‘shameful’ about rocking used items, and b) they have become acutely aware that the quality and tailoring of these items is more often than not superior to most new items sold by fast-fashion retailers.
Value for money is something newer generations appreciate, particularly in the light of economic changes. In addition to that, there is something to be said about the prices of the items. Honestly, who would miss out on up to 95% off girls’ dresses online deal on little girls’ dresses that already come at a fraction of a price of a new one. Every smart mom will snag that for her little one and then style her up.
The pursuit of individuality
Another good reason why spending Saturdays digging for hidden treasures has become one of the most popular pastime activities is precisely that – hidden treasures. Vintage stores often carry a variety of well-preserved designer items and if you’re lucky (and quick) you might snag a vintage Valentino or Chanel and pay for it a little more than you would a regular T-shirt at a ‘regular’ store.
Aside from that, in the era in which individuality trumps all else, vintage and secondhand are the obvious choice, as they carry only one item in one size which in turn means that if you manage to get your hands on it, it’s one of a kind, a rarity, a collectible and you don’t run the risk of looking uniformed and like everyone else.
What goes around comes around
Many would argue that in the world of fashion nothing is ever new – old ideas are recycled, repackaged and made to look innovative and groundbreaking. Purchasing both quality secondhand as well as vintage clothing actually allows one to stay on trend, and this has never resonated more true than this particular year.
After keeping a close watch of this year’s runways and seeing a plethora of broad-shoulder blazers, checkered patterns, pantsuits, and of course Chanel’s signature tweed. Most mere mortals can’t afford to snag any of the designer ready-to-wear pieces, but after seeing such an abundance of retro motifs and cuts, why would they? These stores allow us to have our cake and eat it too – be on point, on trend and still not break the bank. Again – what’s there not to love?
Not what it used to be
When we think of the secondhand stores of ‘yore’ unpleasant odors and shabby racks come to mind. Well, if you haven’t been to a vintage or secondhand store recently, you’re in for a mind-blowing surprise. With shabby chic wooden floors, accent placed on décor and racks that would give any fast-fashion store a run for its money, these stores will make you think you’re in an exclusive high-end shop.
The owners of these stores have gotten smart as well as techno-savvy. They’ve mastered the art of visual merchandising and have amazingly designed online stores to match. If the secondhand shopping experience of the past was under the radar and shabby, it has now gone to chic and highly coveted.