There's been a great deal of discussion around fashion and sustainability over the last year, whether it's the proliferation of eco-conscious brands, the rise of the sharing economy or simply the mechanics of building a capsule wardrobe. Whichever way you look at it, you can't deny that there's a revolution underway.
Vintage fashion is one of the most straightforward ways to make your shopping habits more sustainable. Luckily, the idea of buying secondhand has gone from something that's sneered at by the fashion elite to a widely accepted (and in, fact, totally cool) pastime. However, introducing these pieces into your wardrobe is sometimes easier said than done, especially if it's a new concept to you, which is why it's fantastic that the secondhand market is finally building an online presence.
As a die-hard vintage fan, I've found these new digitalised platforms a godsend, especially when I'm not quite up to trawling the cramped stores of Portobello Road, so I decided to put together a simple guide to finding the best secondhand pieces online. With Oxfam launching Second Hand September (a pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days), there has never been a better time to give it a go.
So, if you're a vintage newbie, it's time to make notes—you're going to feel so smug when you show your friends your new wares at the weekend. From shoppable IG feeds to the joys of Oxfam online, scroll down to see my top tips.
One of the more surprising developments of the last year has been the sharp rise in young entrepreneurs creating dedicated vintage shopping platforms that they publicise through Instagram. Brands such as Imparfait Paris and Retold Vintage have seen sellout success thanks to their carefully curated vintage edits that offer nods to current trends. Retold Vintage drops a new capsule collection every week, and most pieces go within the day. Best of all, they're all very reasonably priced.
You know that the fashion industry is taking sustainability seriously when big e-commerce sites start stocking vintage brands, and that's exactly what has happened over the last year. From Browns's collaboration with One Vintage and Matches' links with William Vintage, to Harvey Nichols's affordable selection of jewellery from Susan Caplan vintage, this isn't exactly budget-friendly shopping, but they're all seriously stunning one-of-a-kind pieces.
When it comes to vintage shopping, you really can't beat the old favourites, and for me, that's stores such as Rokit and Vestiaire Collective. The key to finding the best bits on these sites is simple: You gotta just keep coming back. Yes, this can be a bit laborious, but it certainly beats trawling around Oxford Circus on a Friday evening. Vestiaire even offers an alert system so you don't miss out on your favourite brands. These sites are particularly good for finding secondhand versions of this season's biggest trends (see the Western-inspired pieces below).
And last but by no means least is good-old Oxfam. Most people don't know this, but Oxfam has its own online store where you can scroll through its vintage wares to your heart's content. I have to say, this is probably one of my favourite platforms when it comes to affordability, uniqueness and variety. You might have to scroll through quite a lot to find the good stuff, but when you do, it'll be so worth it. Just see the below for examples of the gems you can find there.