The Sustainable Series #6 : Vintage shopping

08:00

vintage clothing

I've had this post sat in my drafts for a while now waiting for me to just finish and proof read but, following on from Stacey Dooley's documentary on Fashions Dirty Secrets and all the talk about fast fashion at the moment, it seems like the perfect time to offer up some advice on other ways to shop.

The easiest (I think) way of shopping most ethically, is to shop second-hand and vintage clothing. Whether this is going to your local charity shops, scouting out vintage stores (either online or in your favourite town) or simply buying on the likes of depop; you're purchasing clothing that has already been loved once and is not being newly produced, therefore not contributing to more environmental harm! You're preventing (some) unnecessary build-up of clothing on landfill sites and stopping the waste of good clothing, so whats not good about that? Plus, you can find true hidden gems and who doesn't love having unique pieces in their wardrobe that isn't gonna be flooding your instagram feed on every single blogger next week? (I don't know about you, but I'm practically bored to tears of literally everything that Topshop have to offer because I've seen it EVERYWHERE.)

Now I know that vintage shopping (and sustainability in general, tbh) is somewhat of a luxury to be able to do. Your high street charity shop is going to have a plus size department, it won't have tall or petite ranges and finding things to fit won't be easy. I'm aware of that. But if you can then you should try. If nothing else, the rummage in a vintage store could just give you more inspiration for your existing wardrobe. And remember, things can always be cut up and taken to a tailors (or you might be handy with a sewing machine yourself, who knows!). You could make something from that maxi skirt that won't fit you even though you love the fabric; I once made a handbag from a pair of denim cut-offs! Think outside of the box.

I'll be honest, I'm not a pro at vintage shopping, but I'm trying to get better. So it only seemed right to share my ~journey~ and what I'm learning. My favourite ever find (that I will never stop mentioning, ever) is the 90s Burberry jacket in the above photo, which I found on the Oxfam website a few years back for a mere £50. Yep! So here's a few things to note:

1. Never write off charity shops
If you're looking for the best bargains, definitely hit up your local high street and get into that British Heart Foundation/Oxfam/Mind whichever charity shops are there! Everything is priced reasonably low (in my experience) and you have the extra added bonus of contributing to charity. You might not find the best vintage designer numbers, but in terms of second-hand Topshop or a 90s silk leopard print shirt, you really can't go wrong. As I mentioned before, I've shopped Oxfam online too, but not all charities do online shops. So do some digging!

2. Don't search by size
When looking online, whether it's the likes of Rokit Vintage, Oxfam or just on Depop, never limit your search by looking for only 'size 10' (or whatever size you usually wear). This is for 2 reasons: firstly, when there's a mixture of clothing for so many different brands, the fit of sizing will vary greatly (hello, we all know a size 10 in H&M is actually a size 6) and some things you might want more oversized and some tighter fitting. Also secondly, everywhere labels clothing differently so some may be defined by only S/M/L, some in UK sizing and some in European sizing. So you could be excluding a whole range of items without knowing it!

3. Always look past what you see
This sounds like some kind of grandious life lesson, but I just mean try to see how the items will work with your own wardrobe. Much like when you're moving house and you go to viewings and try and picture the rooms with your own furniture instead of that gross beige sofa! This is especially important for depop where people seem to be unable to take a decent photo; those striped trousers might not look great lazily draped across the sellers bed, but try and picture them on and with that nice red top you've got. 

4. Know where to look
I've done a fair bit of browsing, so I thought I'd share the best places I've been finding some good little gems. In the way of vintage stores online: Beyond RetroWe Are Cow and Rokit are the best that I've found so far. They also have stores you can visit, so check out the locations! And if you're in Leeds, I can recommend Blue Rinse Vintage (which is next to the Corn Exchange), Ryan Vintage (on Duncan Street) and the Sue Ryder vintage & retro store in Headingley. But there are so many more that I've just not explored! The Oxfam online site is worth checking for hidden gems, and a few of the sellers I'm always lusting after on Depop include: Boo Tack (@bootack); As If (@asifvintage); The Mighty Junkyard (@inthejunkyard); and Jodie Rockett (@jodierockett) so go have a browse!

Also, don't forget there's ASOS Marketplace, which not only has boutiques but vintage sellers too; along with Etsy & eBay, but just avoid all of the cheap knockoffs coming from China!

If you've got any vintage recommendations, hit me up in the comments below!


Loves. Emma.

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