Do you like vintage?
I started buying all of my clothes almost exclusively second hand back when I was a teenager (aka. before it was cool.)
It became a weekly ritual to meet up with a girlfriend, and hop on the subway. We would travel to the farthest outskirts of town where the best thrift shops always are and spend leisurely afternoons rolling up and down the isles. Our cart would be overflowing by the time we hit the change rooms. We would try on ensembles for each other, meticulously picking only the very best pieces to keep. Sometimes we would trade. Often a friendly stranger would comment “that is a lovely color on you” or “you just have to get that one”. Our outfits were always on point.
People would constantly ask where we got certain things, and I would vaguely say ‘a thrift store.’ I was greedy and wanted to keep our spot a secret, but word spreads. With vintage showing up more in magazines and on celebrities, our secret spot soon became a local hang out for hipsters.
Despite the new thrifting competition, I could never give up the thrill of the hunt. I began travelling to small towns, digging through estate sales and even putting ads on the internet ‘I want to buy your vintage!’ I realized, regardless of how many hip kids had taken up thrifting, there was still so much cool stuff out there for me. In fact, 15 years later I still find at least one amazing thing nearly every time I thrift.
I was happy to continue amassing an epic collection of vintage until I saw the show hoarders and realized that could be my future. I had taken over an entire shared closet and purchased an industrial rack to hang extra items in the living room. When another friend told me about this little site called Etsy I gave it a go, and sold my first item within hours of listing it. My online shop was born and my boyfriend got his half of the closet back.
Over the next decade I sold thousands of items, even reaching a few big bloggers, B list celebrities and a well known fashion designer. I was loving what I did and doing what I loved but somewhere along the way my reasons for selling vintage changed.
When you are looking through discarded clothes as often as I am, you quickly realize how many clothes are actually discarded. And then you realize, someone had to make those clothes. And someone had to make that fabric. And it was dyed and cut and shipped out to be sold. As I did the mental calculations I became aware that people were being exploited to produce this fast fashion and epic waste was being generated as a result. As I learned more about the environmental impacts of the modern clothing industry I grew even more resolute that doing fashion in an eco-conscious way was my calling in life.
The global fashion industry is valued in the TRILLIONS. There are close to 8 billion humans on the earth and if each of us bought just three items of clothing/ footwear a year there would still be a global need for the production of 24 billion items annually. But we don’t just buy three items! The average American family spends $1700 on clothing a year while the average American individual throws away 65 pounds of clothing annually. The scariest thing about these huge numbers to me, is that to make all of these rapidly consumed items, a lot of waste is generated. The waste generated by the fashion industry pollutes our air, water, and soil and is a huge contributor to our modern global health crisis. And health is probably why you are reading this blog in the first place…
Even though my shop is a teeny corner of the internet, I am proud to sell vintage and items made from vintage fabrics with my own two hands and be a part of the solution rather than the problem. I ship everything in biodegradable, recycled packaging and sell items that are either entirely handmade by me out of vintage fabrics, or true vintage. I also tend towards natural fibres as these have a much lighter environmental footprint.
There are so many items in the world we could stop producing clothes today, and still have enough for generations. Sadly, due to greed, the fast fashion industry is not stopping, but we can make better choices about the things we consume.
Next time you feel the need for a wardrobe update, go browse a thrift shop, or check out an online vintage store. You will be amazed at the treasures that are out there.
If vintage is your thing feel free to follow me on IG @lesagevintage for shop updates and discounts. If you’ve been feeling enticed by any of these super cute coats you can find my shop here, all coats are 20% off this month for readers of my blog and IG followers, just use coupon code SPRING at the checkout.