The Rise of Vintage Clothing Shopping, Evie Allen-Jones, Esher College


Since the world was launched into a global lockdown that shut down all high street shops, there has been a huge surge in the desire for vintage and second-hand clothing.

The current generation has the fear of climate change and environmentalism around its neck. It’s a huge crisis and can be a very daunting fear, especially for young people. However, a great solution to some environmental issues is the decrease in fast fashion and the increase in used and vintage clothing. In the time of COVID, many people were emptying their homes and tackling the problems they had allowed to pile up. We all had a lot of free time, so a lot of people started selling their old clothes. This has increased the use of apps like Depop, EBay and Vinted, all places where you can sell and buy used clothes at reasonable prices. People started moving away from fast fashion sites that were known for low quality clothes or possibly low quality factories.

This increase in vintage clothing purchases came with new trends like Y2K fashion and the revival of many brands from the 90s and 2000s. Teenagers and young people started to explore new and old fashion trends and reclaim the lost clothes that their parents may have stored somewhere. This all came with the rise of the popular app, TikTok, which also gained a lot of traction during the lockdown. TikTok became the place where trends were reborn and where communities could be created. Many small groups of niche people could now share ideas and, in this case, new fashion projects.

It’s impossible to walk into a TikTok comments section without seeing it filled with questions like “Where did this come from?” And “Where can I get this??”. TikTok has become a place for new and smaller brands to share, something that also grew out of lockdown. With the rise of small businesses has come an increase in free time and boredom for many people. Everyday people around the world could start these small businesses with the help of TikTok and Depop where you could attract a new and younger audience.

The lockdown sparked the wave of second-hand clothes online, but once restrictions eased, what was next?

Markets, charity shops and garage sales, the best places to find reasonable and rare vintage finds. For many people, the Saturday morning market or Sunday morning garage sale was a normal weekly ritual, a place to get rid of old CDs or books piled up in the garage. But for this new generation who wanted to find rare clothes or cheap vinyl, something else that had a resurgence in popularity, these were the perfect places. One of the most famous markets in the country (known from the 90s movie Notting Hill) Portabello Road Market has been hugely popular. Its range of vintage clothing from brands like Ed Hardy, True Religion and Von Dutch has made it a hotspot for teens and youngsters.

Vintage clothing hunting has become a fun pastime for teenagers and has allowed many people to earn a little extra money by selling their old clothes on Depop, Vinted, and EBay. Being able to rummage through the bins or visit the local charity shops made this hobby fun and exciting as you never know what you might find on a trip to the local Saturday market.

The rise of vintage and used clothing is really fun and positive for our generation. I hope it continues and can be passed on for years to come, proving that fashion is cyclical and that we will always return to old and beloved trends from previous years.


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