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Totally delighted to have got my 2 pence worth in for an article on vintage & sustainability for The Guardian.
I’m thrilled to be part of such an important conversation in such a major publication.
Viva la Vintage!
See the full article here!
Like it or loathe it, when Kim Kardashian wears something, people take notice. With the reality TV star wearing secondhand Azzedine Alaïa to Paris fashion week, secondhand Jean Paul Gaultier to a party and a secondhand 1990s Thierry Mugler gown to an award ceremony, it suggests change is afoot. Who would have thought that Kardashian – a woman worth $350m (£270m), who usually wears Balmain and bodycon – would be making a case for sustainable fashion?
As consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, they are looking for a more sustainable way to shop. Could buying secondhand be the answer?
Vintage, it seems, is increasingly in vogue across the board, from Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who wore 1960s Dior to a christening, to its appearance in British Vogue (the May issue asks: “Does your dress look vintage?”), to high street stores H&M, Arket and & Other Stories announcing they would trial vintage and secondhand clothes sales on their websites. High-end boutique Browns has also just launched the label One Vintage, which uses antique textiles to create new garments. Octavia Bradford, the womenswear buyer for Browns, says: “Sustainability is the loudest conversation in fashion right now.”
A study shows that, last year, 64% of women were willing to buy pre-owned pieces compared with 45% in 2016 – and it is thought that by 2028, 13% of the clothes in women’s wardrobes are likely to be secondhand. Fashion circularity, a new term referring to the recycled life of a garment, is projected to reach $51bn in five years, up from the current $24bn, according to ThredUp’s annual resale report.
Stella McClure, the founder of the online shop The Stellar Boutique, has noticed a shift. When she opened 20 years ago “there was still a stigma attached” – conjuring images of the yellow sweat patches and emotional baggage people often associate with used clothing. “But now (thankfully) it is not just acceptable – it’s cool and has completely captured the fashion zeitgeist,” she says.
Vintage has been venturing on to the high street in fits and starts – in 2000, Portobello Road’s Peekaboo Vintage was welcomed into Topshop’s Oxford Circus flagship store. In 2010, Asos launched its Marketplace, which helped to bring vintage wares to a much wider – and crucially, online – audience.
If the trend has waned of late, this has been purely about aesthetics – minimalism replaced boho chic, and modernity was more in demand than 1970s florals. But fashion has shifted. Aside from an increased awareness of sustainability, vintage fashion fits neatly into the wider mood of the Instagram age, where authenticity and originality – not being seen in the same outfit as anyone else – are highly prized. What better way to stand out than to wear clothes few others are likely to own?
Fashion tends to mine the past. But many of today’s most exciting young designers, from punk-revivalist Charles Jeffrey to James Theseus Buck and Luke Brooks of Rottingdean Bazaar, are looking to decades before they were born for inspiration. “High-end design teams are referencing past eras,” says Nicky Albrechtsen, the author of Vintage Fashion Complete. She refers to the prairie-style dresses of Erdem and Zimmermann, “reminiscent of the nostalgic fashions of the 70s”, as well as cult brands such as The Vampire’s Wife and Batsheva.
“Seeing such strong references on the catwalk gives confidence to fashionistas to embrace the original dresses and showcase original pieces in a modern way,” says Albrechtsen. According to Scarlet Eden, a vintage buyer at Beyond Retro, if the pieces the high street produces are based on vintage trends: “We’re able to offer customers the original looks.”
Vintage naysayers who may have been put off in the past by thoughts of rummaging around in jumble-sale-like basements may be persuaded by the ability to buy online. “The popularity of online vintage shops is great for those who don’t have access to everything a city such as New York has to offer,” says Gabriel Held, described by Vogue as “Instagram’s most celebrated vintage dealer”.
But it is not all rosy: opening up the market with numerous online shops has meant less quality control. Held sees “a lot of mediocre used clothing being marketed as vintage … Something doesn’t have to be 20 years old to be considered vintage, but, for me, if it’s not true vintage, then it should be something extraordinary.”
This is where the lines blur between secondhand and vintage. For Albrechtsen, vintage means any era up to the early 80s, while Eden and McClure consider it to be clothing that is more than 20 years old. Held says his definition “is not set in stone” – he even has some contemporary pieces in his own archive “that I know will be collectible in 10 years’ time”.
Virginia Bates, whose Notting Hill vintage emporium attracted the likes of Naomi Campbell and Donatella Versace before it closed in 2012, used to stock items from the end of the 19th century. Her definition of vintage runs “up to the 1920s, 30s, a bit of 40s, occasionally 50s … I don’t consider 60s vintage. I would never have sold that because I was there, I was wearing it.” But, as she says: “With another generation coming up, the 60s is the equivalent of what I thought of as antique when I opened my shop.”
Albrechtsen says: “Many professionals now include any [era]-defining garments – by which I mean iconic or clever designs.” This is where the resurgence and reverence of certain 90s styles comes in, arguably spearheaded by cult Peckham shop Wavey Garms. “Nineties sportswear is,” according to Albrechtsen, “very clever in terms of design … so it still works now.” Little surprise, then, that it has filtered down to more mainstream vintage outlets – Beyond Retro, for example, is always well-stocked with Champion sweatshirts.
The flames of this “less vintage vintage” are also being fanned by the rise of resale sites. According to the ThredUp 2019 resale report, resale has grown 21 times faster than apparel retail in the past three years. These luxury sites offer a glimmer of hope to those seeking a more affordable way to buy into designer fashion.
Not content to sit back and watch others profit from their vintage items, some luxury labels are relaunching decades-old designs from their own archives. Last year, for instance, Dior brought back its saddle bag because of the attention it was getting in the vintage fashion market. In February, Fendi brought back its Carrie Bradshaw-approved baguette bag from 1999 – luxury resale website Vestiaire Collective had seen a 558% increase in sales of the bag since January last year. “Every brand is currently developing a point-of-view on how to coexist with secondhand,” ThredUp cofounder and chief executive James Reinhart recently told the Business of Fashion.
Of course, for some, buying vintage will never feel quite right. “It’s really not my bag,” says Bates. There are obvious pitfalls – sizing isn’t uniform, and, she says: “You have to be so careful to look for holes and moths and rips.”
But being able to call a 90s hoodie, a Dior bag from the 00s, or a dress first worn by Naomi Campbell in 1996 “vintage”, might just help to keep the appeal going. As Bates puts it: “At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter … the most important thing is that it’s recycled – it encourages people not to go out and buy more.”
guest post by Ffion Lovelock
2019 Fashion Trend Report; the year of empowerment, femininity and exhibiting confidence. It is the year of feeling comfortable in your own skin and wearing adaptable pieces that can cater to every woman. So what pieces exactly are we introducing, or more so, what are we bringing back this year?
Well, 2019 certainly looks like the year of some old favourites returning to our shelves. From prairie dresses to padded shoulders, we are taking things old school as we edge towards a brand new decade. Quite clearly showing that vintage is set to be popular this year, why buy new when it has all been done before? When everyone is shopping in the same sort of stores, you could be wearing a one-of-a-kind piece. Take the boiler suit for example, the return of its utility design can offer both an echo of the 30s working woman that foreshadows the feminine takeover that this year’s fashion trends have forecast, as well as an 80s vintage vibe that reflects a time where women really started to wear whatever the hell they wanted.
Furthermore, in terms of styles and accessories, Neo-tailoring is set to take off this year for both men and women, with its strong looks being debuted recently on the catwalks by the likes of Balenciaga and Dior. Again, this style echoes classic 90s chic and sophistication. Another reason to seek out your vintage stores this year. On the bag front, we are going for small, cute and totally impractical this year. Oh yes, it’s the mini bag; a style that is more of a street-style statement than of any use to holding things. Still, some of our favourite designers seem to love it and it seems like this year we are all expected to fall in love with them too.
When it comes to print’s we are sticking with animal print this year, which shows that the trend really does live on forever and so you are always best to hang on to any past statement pieces since you never know when everyone is going to start rocking snake-print all over again. The catwalks have been showcasing a lot of elegant leopard prints and proving the versatility of the beloved feline design. On top of this, we can expect to say ‘hello’ to some patchwork and some potential punk or preppy looks with coloured tartan as these busy prints are set to grace our high street stores and make for a very visually busy and colourful 2019.
Now to realise just how colourful fashion this year will be, colour schemes and palettes this year are expected to boast beige and lavender tones – a sophisticated palette which oozes confidence and Parisian chic. As both soft colours, we surely can expect something a little more crazy in the year of being bold, right? Well, of course. 80s neon is coming back, and you can expect to see fluorescent oranges, yellows, pinks and greens (basically the usual colours within a highlighter pack) to be widely popular throughout the course of the year. The high-street is already jumping on the bandwagon, the catwalk is labelling it ‘The Prada Effect’ and any clothes you have left over from the ’80s could be put to very good use if you are wanting to express your inner Madonna or Cyndi Lauper.
Lastly and most importantly, a trend in 2019 that is set to make a change is the ‘Global Citizen’, which takes into consideration our global footprint towards fashion and our behaviour as such frequent consumers of fast-fashion. With a wide focus on vegan materials, ethical fashion and being overall more ‘green’, introducing this ‘Wegoism’ to the fashion industry this year will hopefully be the starting point of a more positive worldwide outlook towards slow fashion.
So why not take a look at The Stellar Boutique for all of your 2019 throwbacks and take notice of how you could be a better ‘Global Citizen’ towards fashion through purchasing some vintage clothing that is returning to our stores this year. Let’s empower people to make a difference and to feel super confident, glam and on-trend in doing so.
By Ffion Lovelock @ffilovelock
Read more from Ffion on her blog – Life and Lovelock
Setting new years resolutions is always a love / hate relationship. If you’re anything like me it generally goes a little like this… December 31st, reflect on the year gone by, feel motivated, inspired and full of promise for the year ahead, set unrealistic resolutions, and by mid January all recollection of those so-called goals have disappeared into oblivion and it’s back to the old routine! If this isn’t the case and you stick to your resolutions like glue then I applaud you! Carry on as you were (and please let me in on the secret of your success!)
But for the rest of us, following on from our previous post on sustainable fashion, set yourself a challenge to make this year count and (if you’re not already doing so) make a pledge to take steps towards a greener, kinder and more sustainable fashion future.
Because let’s face it, you love the world of fashion (hence you’re here now reading this) that’s not gonna change and neither should it have to! But there are plenty of wardrobe changes (even if small) that we can make without going cold turkey on our fashion addiction. So let’s set ourselves an achievable New Years fashion resolution and stick to it. There’s so many simple but effective improvements to our shopping habits we can incorporate, whether it’s deciding to purchase quality over quantity and avoiding fast fashion, only purchasing from ethical brands, buying less but choosing well, recycling clothes by buying second hand items and thrift store shopping, keeping it circular (and interesting) by sticking to vintage fashion, making a point of wearing more of your ‘old’ clothes that you once loved but that no longer get a look in, upcycle, customise and rework tired old pieces, set up a swap shop with your friends to swap and share clothes so you always feel like you’ve got something new and keep your wardrobe fresh, do that big clear out you’ve promised yourself (you know, the one you promised yourself last January too) and take your unwanted clothes to recycle bins or donate them to a local charity. Whatever you decide, little by little, we can all make a big difference.
We’d love to know how you get on so tell us what you decide and keep us updated by sharing your progress using #stellarnewyear
We can all do our bit to stay more fashion conscious , keep fashion circular and kind.
So have fun with it and use the challenge as a catalyst to get even more creative with your wardrobe choices, upcycle, recycle, rework and rethink.
The possibilities are endless xx
Guest post by Hafsa Hussain
On every item we own from our phones to the sheets on our beds, in small writing on the label it states, ‘Made in __’. This is most likely to originate from China or developing countries. But what is the story behind where our items are from, most importantly the clothes which we wear? Founder of Fashion Tech Lab, Miroslava Duma told the August 2017 Marie Claire, the first ever sustainable issue: “The fashion industry is all about storytelling and craftsmanship. Sustainability adds value because it makes that backstory even more impactful”. In recent years, consumers have been demanding more social and environmental information about the origin of the clothes they buy. This shows that more than ever, we are interested in our clothing, as the truth about the origin has been exploited in tabloids and documentaries, changing consumer attitudes.
Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world after oil? With approximately 80 billion garments produced worldwide per year (Green Peace, 2016). This is due to the demand for new trends and styles increasing in recent years. According to the documentary, True Cost, rather than four seasons of collections per year, fast fashion has fabricated fifty-two seasons, creating new styles every week. Keeping in mind the lack of consideration for social and environmental consequences. Can the industry succeed by continuing with fast fashion and being ethical simultaneously?
In the fashion industry momentarily, fast fashion has been speeding up trends and shortening seasons, whilst becoming old, dated and out of style. The average turnover period of designer brands from the catwalk to consumers is six months and has now been compressed from only a few weeks by companies such as Zara and H&M, whose profits are exceedingly high. Swift cycles make these fast fashion companies succeed: having fast designs, effective transportation and items prepared on hangers with price tags attached ready for the shop floor. As fast fashion replaces the luxury, authenticity and exclusivity with planned impulse, lasting for a limited time due to the poor-quality fabrics, manufacturers have gone out of fashion.
H&M, a mass fast fashion company, has focused on their ethical profiles for sales growth in the long-term. According to Corporate Knights magazine, H&M ranked 57th amongst the world’s most sustainable companies with an overall score of 65.10%; Whilst Kering ranked ten places above with a score of 66.80%. H&M launched a garment collecting service at their stores, recycling textiles to “give their garments a new life and helping to close the loop on fashion”, stating they have gathered more fabric in comparison to 250 million t-shirts. However, according to the Huffington Post, H&M continues to produce 600 million garments per year which is more than double the garments recycled and reused. As consumers, if we began re-using and recycling our items, rather than constantly buying new pieces and throwing others away, producers would have no choice but to change their strategies, and companies would consider evolving to a slow fashion movement
It’s time to change! There needs to be inventive strategies implemented to move from fast fashion to slow fashion, for the mass market sector, including the extension the product’s life cycle due to designs of clothes which are not molecular. For example, a coat which contains zips, buttons and trim can be recycled efficiently leaving just the fabric to be shredded back to its thread level, this new thread can become a new fabric and finally a new item of clothing. To achieve this, the jacket would need to have a mainframe hidden and attached in the coat’s fabric to hold the zips, button and trim altogether, and when the coat is at the end of its life cycle, the wireframe can be removed easily from the bone. Additionally, materials could be labelled with expected lifetimes including repair kits and services, provided by retailers, if the design development of the garments can be easily updated for the look or size.
Vintage clothing is commonly classified as clothing that is 20 years or older and if the garment survives more than 50 years it can be proudly called an antique. Vintage clothes are not only used pieces of garments, but it’s also part of history and adventure of thoughts of who wore them and their story to tell. Vintage clothing is a simple way to reduce, reuse and recycle clothes. During the manufacturing process, quality was important and key hence the fact they often last longer than most of the clothing today. But why has vintage fashion become popular recently, maybe because they can’t be replicated effortlessly or perhaps due to celebrities such as Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian having worn vintage on the red carpet? What people don’t realise is that fashion trends always come back around. Instead of throwing your ‘old’ clothes away, be patient, wait a couple years, fashion is not as new as you would think it is.
Recently we have seen a rise in 90s streetwear fashion on both our runways and on the streets. Big brands have dramatically increased their prices to offer ‘vintage’ pieces, but this could be saved if we as consumers actually visited vintage shops instead. Vintage can be advantageous in both ways, it allows you to differentiate yourself from the rest and it can also allow you to add to the current trends, so you look truly ahead of what the current runways have to offer.
Fashion is fast becoming one of the biggest threats to the sustainability of our precious planet.
But that doesn’t mean we have to feel guilty about loving it so much, we just need to change the way we create it, use it, wear it and eventually ‘dispose’ of it.
Only buy something if you truly love it then you’ll happily wear it again and again. Get creative, upcycle tired old items and turn them into new ensembles. Buy vintage, rework old vintage and mend instead of trash.
It’s that time again when I turn my house into a photographic studio and every corner becomes a possible fashion set!
So I thought I’d treat you to some behind-the-scenes moments from the weekend’s shoot and an exclusive peek at my new eco T-shirt collection.
as usual no fashion shoot at mine is complete without the help/hinder of my four legged assistants but With Clothes and dogs everywhere, I’m in my absolute element!
Massive thanks to Hannah (@hannahlittler1) for working her magic in front of the camera and being my muse for the day.
… just a few thousand pics to go through first!
Yassss… Guilt free shopping!