By Marina Sergeeva
There used to be a time when buying used clothing was frowned upon. It was thought to to something the poor did out of necessity, rather than a choice. But my, how things have changed.
So many millions of us are searching for vintage treasures that online consignment shops are now an $18 billion industry. And this frenzy for what used to be called ‘used clothing’ doesn’t stop there – there’s also a major craze for clothing rental, swapping and swishing – but that’s another story. The bottom line is that from funky vintage treasures at cult faves like Rockit to glamorous, pre-loved designer gear at Vestaire Collective, growing numbers of fashionistas are hungry to find a unique piece for a bargain price.
Still not convinced? These five points spell out pretty clearly why online consignment shops are becoming the new normal, and why you should get on board whilst there are still bargains to be had.
1. Great Value
Sure, fast fashion is cheap. But you know what’s even cheaper? Shopping at consignment and charity shops. You can find everything from pre-loved designer labels at a fraction of the price to rare vintage finds, with many boutiques offering a percentage of profits to those in need as an added bonus. No charity shops in your ‘hood? No worries – even Oxfam has gotten in on the online shopping game and has beautifully presented its offerings of clothing and accessories on its website, for a fraction of the price of buying something new.
2. Authenticity Guaranteed – Sometimes
If you want authentic designer vintage goods, you need to be a bit careful. Whilst some places, like Ebay, are notorious for the quantity of fakes they carry, most dedicated designer vintage sites state, check and authenticate the item prior to its list and sell. For example, NYC’s What Goes Around Comes Around has been renowned for the quality and collectability in their luxury and vintage pieces, which are hand-picked by the buying team from the most ‘coveted fashion labels’ around the world. Vestaire Collective is also very strict in accepting their pre-loved designer goods – they have highly trained specialists working in specific areas – watches, bags, and shoes, for example. So, how to know whether you can trust a site? Check their reviews if possible, and also ensure they have a section on their site about how they verify their items.
3. Saves Time & Energy
Not long ago, vintage shopping was a bit of a pain in the butt, with hours spent searching through musky bins of used clothing in offbeat shops scattered around town. But now you can shop for stuff that’s guaranteed to have been cleaned online – and the presentation couldn’t be more lovely! Some sites even offer 360 degree views of items, or models wearing them to give you a better idea as to how they may look on you. It’s an easier and simpler way to buy, with double the reward when you spot an absolute designer vintage gem!
4. Way More Unique
With more people shunning trends and feeling freer than ever to express their own, unique style, consignment shopping has become super popular. Stores like Beyond Retro Vintage Clothing, who are committed in their contribution to creating a circular economy through their upcycled LABEL collection, have loads of sustainably sourced products and previously owned designer items acquired through their Cycle of Vintage. Ditto for Bead + Reel.
It all promises the excitement of finding something you’ll never see on the high street – an authentic ’30’s turban, an original pair of Nike classics, a tailored jacket from the ’40’s – anything is possible.
5. Resale, Resale, Resale
Finally, if you find yourself on the other end of the spectrum, inheriting all your grandmother’s vintage pieces but finding that they’re not all to your taste, online vintage stores make it easy to sell choice pieces online. All you need to do is take a few good pics and send them off. Snob Swap and Rebagg are there to help you find your items a loving home and may even allow you to treat yourself to some in return. Finished with designer gear, but reluctant to donate it to charity because it cost you a mint? Vestaire Collective, Poshmark, or Designer Vintage can resell your designer pieces, but if you’re more of a high-street girl, there is always Ebay, ThreadUP or Vinted to help you find a new home for old clothes.
So get yourself out there and find, buy and enjoy a unique vintage piece which may have already enjoyed a date or two!
Want to know where to shop for the best vintage bargains? Click here to see 21 great online shops!
Main image: Front Row UK Clothing Rental