neon sign in shop with vintage clothes

Timeless charm, inexpensive, rare and eco-friendly. Vintage thrifting is delightfully tempting in more ways than one.

Why go alternative? Let’s first explore the toxic side of fast fashion and throwaway culture… and finally rekindle the old romance in beautiful vintage that withstand the test of time.

The dark side of fast fashion

Fast fashion comes from producing and consuming affordable clothes for the masses that’s inspired by latest high-fashion trends off the fashion week runways. In one light, it is said to democratize high fashion, making it accessible to all.

Stack them high, sell them cheap is the name of the game. Investopedia describes it as, “cheap, trendy knock-off garments, mass-produced at low cost.” The major players in fast fashion are Zara, H&M, UNIQLO, GAP, Forever 21 and Topshop, among others.

This frenzy to stay trendy though is costing our society, environment and economy at such alarming rates. Aside from overexploiting labor with subpar wages and appalling working conditions, the waste produced alone is eyebrow-raising enough. If you want to stay abreast with the trends in sustainability and development, read more about the Planetary Health Diet movement in another article called, Can flexitarians really save the environment?

It’s high time that we start living in a different fashion, don’t you think? Let’s talk about one way to steer clear of fast fashion: vintage thrifting.

Vintage thrifting pros and cons

Now here’s the exciting part, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s talk vintage!

As a boho, cottagecore old soul, I looove vintage thrifting and quality handmedowns. I want to make it a part of my lifestyle more as much as possible.

Also, for those who like the light/dark academia vibe, antique/vintage clothes and trinkets will definitely enhance your ensemble. The modern retro feel never goes out of style.

Vintage Thrifting Lows

I know, there are pros and cons to this though, so let’s first explore some downsides.

  • Ambience: thrift stores can tend to be crowded, confined, stuffy and cluttered.
  • Quality: vintage thrift clothes show the usual signs of wear-and-tear at varying degrees.
  • Limited replicas and options of items, since it isn’t necessarily mass-produced. What you see is what you get, whatever is on the vintage racks. If it isn’t in your size or color, time to flip through to the next piece and hope you’d strike gold after a good sift.
  • Decision fatigue: vintage hunting takes practice and knowing where to look; it’s a slow process of finding the perfect piece, in stark contrast to predictable fast fashion, where high fashion dictates what hits their racks.

Vintage Thrifting Highs

Now let’s shed light on the perks of vintage thrifting. Here are just a few things that it make it worth it.

Timeless charm & character. Most decent vintage sellers are very transparent about quality, mentioning item damage/stains/tears upfront to help vintage hunters discern and decrease decision fatigue. Vintage thrift pieces might surprise you, they are usually in really good condition despite being pre-loved. The aunthenticity of a mildly-worn lace blouse from yesteryears is much more romantic compared to fast-fashion’s brand new, yet flimsy quality.

More eco-friendly. When opting for pre-loved items, vintage wear is our own simple way of saying, “I love you, planet earth.” Using up less of the earth’s resources to satsify our need for beautiful adornments is a wonderful gesture with short and long-term benefits.

Shift from consumer to producer mentality. Selling your own vintage pieces can be an alternative source of income as well. This gives life to a thriving circular/sharing economy, as opposed to the vertical (stack-high-sell-low) model of fast fashion.

Exciting and unpredictable. If you like the thrill of the hunt, all the more you will love vintage thrifting. Embrace your inner lion/lioness as you crouch low before pouncing on your gem pick.

Unlike fast fashion where most things on display are similar across the boutiques, in vintage thrift stores, it’s quite the opposite. Yes, rummaging through the racks and piles is a slow process, but every piece is quite unique and seldom a clone of any other piece.

In fast fashion, plenty of girls tend to look the same. Vintage thrifting gives us back our individuality, character and unique style.

Do you love and/or hate vintage thrifting? Comment below. Share your luscious vintage finds.

Written by

May Gordoncillo

May is a soul-searching freelance writer/editor who earned her BS and MA degrees in communication from the University of the Philippines. She unleashes her creative prowess in her blog, Luscious Mind.