BY Jessica Hartland, Class of 2013 —
When you hear the word fashion, most minds instantly think of Michael Kors, Versace and Dior. But recently the definition of what is hip has changed.
Vintage and secondhand clothing has sparked an interest among shoppers who are looking for one- of- a- kind, timeless pieces. Of course these looks have been around for decades, but it’s finally now that they have been adopted into the fashion world.
“We shop for and try to provide item for everyday wear. The bonus is that while prices are less than half of what you’d spend at your average retail store on something new that 10,000 other people bought that week. Our merchandise is unique,” said vintage clothing shop owner Matthew McKay.
But there are many options for all different styles. If you are the type that does not want to search for the smaller shops, many mainstream clothing stores are beginning to sell more vintage looks, including Urban Outfitters and TopShop.
“I have been working retail for many years and, honestly, I get tired of seeing people walk around in the same shirt everyday and call it unique fashion,” says senior college student, Jamie Paraski.
“I think that the trends in the vintage clothing and all the stores that I have seen opening up will really make an impact on fashion, in general. It gives people an opportunity to express themselves without looking like a carbon copy,” Paraski said.
Many people are unaware of the definition of vintage. It pertains to articles of clothing that are at least 25 years old. But it also represents a time in history. A popular look that constitutes the vintage look is the 1920s flapper dresses. Celebrities are often seen rocking this look, such as Sarah Jessica Parker who recently flaunted a Dolce and Gabbana version. Not only does it show a different style, but also represents a time of big change for women, who won the right to vote in in the 1920s.
But newly opened stores aren’t the only place you can find these looks. Secondhand clothing stores have always been around, but are often overlooked. Names like Good Will and Salvation Army are well known, but not always seen as the place to find the latest fashion. But with vintage clothing, thrift and consignment shops should be the first place to look.
With their consistent low prices and guaranteed rare merchandise, these stores prove that newer isn’t always better.
“I think that secondhand stores get a bad rap, but you can truly find a diamond in the rough,” said 26 year-old Keith Hanson. “When I want to get something that is definitely going to be different, the first idea that pops into my head is a thrift store.”
“If we thrift and thrift often you see that clothes are no longer expensive and you’ll forget about work clothes versus dress clothes and there will just be clothes,” said Matthew McKay.
When thrifting becomes a hobby, finding outfits seem to be less demanding and fashion simply begins to have a little more meaning.
If you are not the type to even visit any stores, do not worry. There are newly emerging wesbites that offer vintage clothing. Sites such as Modcloth, as well as Etsy.com have an assortment of attire, jewelry and much more that shows that vintage is slowly making a monumental comeback.
Student Alanna Chloewa said, “Vintage just holds more character. Just the fact that you are telling a story through your clothing makes it more personal. It just shows the difference in people’s personalities and how they want the rest of the world to perceive them.”
When you stand out because what you are wearing, more people become interested in your choices. By being your own person, you are already beginning a new trend.