Not so long ago, vintage fashion was considered antiquated, stuffy and was largely neglected by the fashion industry, but in recent years, its approach and attitude towards vintage has completely transformed. What was once spurned is now being celebrated as chic, sophisticated and a great alternative to the unsustainable practices that punctuate today’s fast fashion, and the rise of online vintage shops and resellers has played a central role in its return to popularity.
Once upon a time, designer vintage fashion pieces used to be extremely hard to come by, requiring hours of rummaging through thrift shops, often to no avail. Now, the increase in the number of luxury vintage shops opening online has allowed people to find quality and authentic vintage fashion easily and all in one place. This improved convenience and accessibility has seen a huge rise in the number of shoppers opting to purchase vintage designer goods as a result.
Here, we take a look at just why vintage online stores are enjoying such a sizable slice of the luxury fashion market in 2021 – and how they are helping to create a more sustainable world for environmentally conscious customers.
From obscurity to the mainstream
There is no denying that the emergence and subsequent rise of online vintage stores over the past few years has been a game changer for the fashion industry and today, a whole host of online vintage stores exist. While their products and prices can vary, the vast majority boast a large selection of vintage luxury clothes and accessories, particularly handbags, and those who have the patience have managed to lay their hands on some of the most sought-after ‘it’ bags and accessories of times gone by, as well as unique, one-of-a-kind garments that simply can’t be found elsewhere.
Thevintagebar.com has become acclaimed for its range of popular vintage handbags, which includes covetable styles like the Chanel Classic Flap and Louis Vuitton Noé, and has reported a huge increase in sales over recent years – a sign, if one was needed, that vintage fashion is here to stay.
Online platforms are well suited to selling vintage as their virtual space allows them to offer a larger collection of items to a much broader customer base, so it’s little wonder that many bricks-and-mortar operations have opted to move online instead. But one of the most notable benefits that luxury shoppers are seeing with making their purchases in such a way is the opportunity it provides to reduce their carbon footprint, which is a huge selling point for an increasingly environmentally conscious population.
It’s no secret by now that the fashion industry has a colossal impact on the environment. Not only are overconsumption and unsustainable manufacturing processes major problems for the fashion industry, but many items end up in landfill despite having decades of use left in them. Luxury items, in particular, are made to last, and online vintage shops like The Vintage Bar are giving unwanted designer vintage a second, third, fourth (and so on) chance at life.
Started as a circular fashion universe back in 2017, the store has seen just how dramatically the rise in popularity of vintage has affected the fashion industry. Fashion has embraced a wave of revival trends in recent years, and the ready availability of vintage designs from such online vintage stores has served as a catalyst for many of them. Designs such as the early ‘00s Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolore range and the Dior Saddle Bag are once again being worn by fashionistas worldwide, in part thanks to the rise of online vintage shops.
Our shopping habits, it seems, have come full circle, and today, many modern brands are struggling to cater to our demands for improvements in sustainable practices – and despite the efforts of many to do so, they still have a way to go before they can match the benefits of buying vintage.
The bottom line
There’s no denying that online vintage stores have been crucial in changing the public perception of vintage fashion from drab to desirable, subsequently altering the entire landscape of the modern fashion industry. And, as an instrumental tool when it comes to helping to tackle fashion’s sustainability issues, it seems that they are here to stay.