Let's be honest. When the topic of vintage or consignment shopping is raised, it's not exactly farfetched to say that it might leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Cringed faces and sour looks, furrowed brows and echoes of "do we have to? There's a Zara just up the road!" can be seen and heard at the very mention of the words "second hand." Though generalizing isn't fair or legitimate, stereotypes exist for a reason. The stigma around consignment and the belief that second-hand shopping is far from glamorous does bare a grain of truth. Tight, dingy backrooms filled with smoke-scented garments on plastic hangers typically tend to be the first images to cross your mind when one hears the words "vintage store" - but of course that's not always the case. In some circumstances, it's actually quite the opposite.
First and foremost, you all need to be made aware of the obvious; it's 2018 and the world is dying. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. It loves to claim that sustainability is of utmost importance, but we've yet to see a real change. The destruction of unsold merchandise is still very much the reality of this industry we all know and love (yes Burberry, we are looking at you and no, we haven't forgotten about your scandal for burning $38 million worth of unsold products).
We know what you're thinking - what am I able to do about this? Well for a start, if you're one of those individuals who avoid consignment shops like the plague then frankly it's time to get off your high horse. Recycling is the way forward, and in fact it's a trend that has yet to run its course. If you think about it, fashion is a constant wheel of cycling eras. Everything old is eventually reworked into something new. Think of it in terms of clothing; bootcut jeans from the '90s are now back in style paired with heeled boots and leather jackets. That bum bag your dad used to carry the passports in when your whole family went on holiday (lest we forget), has now been re-vamped and seen on almost every runway. Remember the bucket hat that sent shivers up your spine every time you grandfather put it on to go fishing with his friends? Every hype beast now rocks them. Trends come and go and come and go again, whether you like it or not.
We've all heard the phrase "one person's trash is someone else's treasure," and as true as that is, vintage shopping, or reselling in general, definitely isn't necessarily trash to begin with. Especially if it's a £12,000 vintage Birkin bag. Sure, brand new models may start at £8000, but with such a high demand, long wait, and requirement to have previously spent x amount of money at Hermès, it's easier to spend more on one that's preloved and save yourself the headache. Not to mention, handbags like Birkins, Kellys or Chanel Classic Flaps rarely cease to lose their value. Timeless pieces that come with history in addition to their beauty will always remain desired and in demand due to their status. Everyone knows that there is an unspoken rule when it comes to luxury accessories. Hermès may produce the "holy grail" of handbags and reign supreme of the luxury hierarchy, but they really just represent how many zeros you have in your bank account.
Reselling is the way forward and it's about time more people realized it. The act of wearing and loving your clothing, handbags, shoes and anything in between, and then passing it on to a new home is truly a humbling experience. On the other side, investing in a vintage leather jacket or a unique piece you won't find in any high street or department store, keeps originality alive. Let's so drop the notion that reselling isn't glam. False narratives are so not in fashion and neither is buying brand new when true luxury is never really last season - and if it is, so what?
By: Isabel de Carteret