Vintage clothing is so much fun. Who doesn’t love showing off their new vintage buy to their friends and family? There’s something to be said for knowing your clothes are entirely yours and unique, not to be copied by anyone.
But consider it. You show up to the party, ready to catwalk this one of a kind piece and then it happens. You see someone in your exact ‘vintage’ piece – you’ve been ripped off.
Unfortunately, this has become quite the norm, with many brands offering ‘vintage’ clothing without delivering on the real thing. Many people are trying to boycott the trend of fast fashion and instead are willing to invest more money for a more sustainable manner and of a higher quality.
So the real heartbreak comes when these people trying to invest in something better are duped into paying for the exact fashion they want rid of. With that in mind, here are a few ways to know what you are buying is genuinely vintage.
Do Your Research
Sourcing authentic vintage clothing online usually is safest from brands that make it their mission to provide these unique pieces, crafting clothing using traditional and appropriately vintage patterns, processes or materials. There are many authentic brands out there, such as Relco London, Collectif, Rockit and more, and once you find your favourites, you’re in.
Vintage clothing and retro fashion have seen a massive trend boost over the past few years, which is fantastic. However, when it comes to sourcing second-hand vintage clothing, this is where it can become tricky.
Modern forums are platforms like Depop and Threadup, as these connect people for a more sustainable way of buying.
The issue comes in the trust we have to put in people, as recently many sellers have been known to be buying cheap from thrift stores and aiming to profit from these good-intentioned people.
As well as people buying from big brands and passing them off as ‘vintage’, there are many reasons to be cautious and why we must do our research before buying.
While the teething part of buying vintage online continues, another great way to ensure what you are receiving is genuinely vintage is using dedicated vintage clothing brands—the brands founded with authenticity and a genuine willingness to provide high-quality vintage clothes.
Check The Label
Checking the label and seeing what it says can reveal a lot more than we might initially think.
So for this one, we have to put our detective hats on a bit and dive a little deeper into the history of clothes making to know how the label can help give away whether it is vintage or not.
A label will often say where the clothing was made and manufactured. If it has been “made in America”, chances are it is more likely to genuinely be vintage if you’re looking for particular styles that are vintage within American fashion.
This is because America made around 70% of all fashion in their country up until the mid to late ’80s, where it then shifted overseas due to the economy and manufacturing costs. This is also where we can see the beginning of fast fashion and how it developed into the behemoth it has become today.
However, if you’re looking for vintage clothing from a particular country, your best bet is to try and source pieces made in the country from which this style originates. For example, suppose you’re looking for an authentic vintage Kimono. In that case, it’s essential to purchase from a brand or seller who sells original pieces from Japan, rather than a store that’s appropriated this fashion for profit.
The same goes for any vintage pieces you’re looking for!
So this one might seem odd, – but many clothing ranges can claim to be vintage without actually qualifying! But you might be thinking, “if brands or clothes claim they’re vintage, surely they must be?”
But there are so many ways that many brands get away with saying something is vintage without it genuinely being vintage.
For a definition, vintage is ‘items made between 20 years ago and 100 years ago; if they represent the era they belong to.
There are excellent authentic brands out there that offer such good quality vintage clothing, and you most definitely should not be detracted from these fantastic brands. What you need to be careful of is clothing that does not represent the era that it belongs to — if you’re a diehard vintage clothing fan, then this can be a no-go.
Quite often, vintage clothing is made to look vintage without actually being made with adherence to the authentic processes, materials or designs of that time. It’s branded as being vintage without any of the actual substance to it.
Overall, buy what you want and what makes you happy. But those looking to purchase vintage are likely going to pay slightly more and do it for a good cause or to be more sustainable.
So just make sure you know what you are buying, sometimes. If a deal is too good to be true, then chances are it is; make sure you’re not feeding into the very thing you want to stop and put your money into something you believe.