Vintage Shopping

22 January 2018

Do Sample Sales or Vintage Shopping Fit Into Conscious Life?

We’re well into January, so it seems only appropriate to follow up on our 2018 new year resolutions. Are you still sticking to yours? Or have you already abandoned them in the back of your closet like your beloved velvet stilettos that make your feet hurt too much to ever actually wear?

“To live a more conscious life” was one of the top recurring resolutions on many priorities lists this year, according to several surveys. Many people are becoming much more woke when it comes to living consciously—meaning being both present in our lives and also aware of the ethical repercussions of our every decision.

In the fashion world? That translates to a vigorous philosophical exploration of sample sales versus vintage shopping. Which is more sustainable, and therefore ethical?

We know by now that waste and mass-consumption are serious issues in the fashion industry. The second issue of this bi-annual Fashion Revolution fanzine is a fun, yet sobering read on this topic. It seeks to inspire you to “buy less, care more, and know how to make the clothes you love last longer.”  

As we’re now beginning to learn more about what it means to refresh one’s wardrobe ethically and sustainably, we feel it is important to dig deeper and bring attention to what’s lurking in the shadow of even our believed-to-be-ethical decisions.

Consider second-hand shopping. We love a good “lived in” touch of vintage in our wardrobe. In our 2017 TSC poll, over 52 percent of responders said they love second hand shopping.  These readers are obviously drawn to the history attached to such items, and they probably believe they’re also doing their part in saving the world by purchasing a donated item—thereby avoiding adding to the pollution of mass production. Such readers also take equal pride in donating their own items instead of tossing them into the trash. There is some truth to this, but it turns out it is not the whole story. Of the clothes we donate, only 1 in 3 end up being resold to a new local owner, and a staggering 66% are being sold to textile merchants who either send them across the world or chop them up to recycle them. So you think, Okay, at least I have purchased that one lucky item that didn’t go to Africa or Eastern Europe at the cost of a large carbon footprint and in some cases the detriment of local fashion industry. But do you really know anything about the lifecycle of your “find,” and how it’s made its way onto the rack in front of you?

An eye-opening article on virtue and vice follows the unlikely story of a “vintage” pair of jeans: originated in Cambodia in a cheap factory that produces new cheap items, using scraps of material, given to agriculture workers to wear as a “uniform” for several months, commercially washed and brought back to the United States. Hm… quite a different history than the one you had in mind when decided to purchase an ethical vintage item.

Now consider the sample sales. While shopping at a sample sale undoubtedly has its pitfalls, it is the clear winner when it comes to the transparency of a product’s life cycle. Not to mention—it features crystal clear provenance of products and a smaller carbon footprint.

A more murky question in this realm relates to wearing vintage leather, fur, or any other animal product. I guess the answer to that question is a personal one and it largely depends on where you fall on your own scale of ethics. If you are one of the many living in that gray area where you love your furry friends, but also like wearing leather shoes and the incidental fur hoodie, then you will want to check this week’s sample sales…

Women’s fur coats and clothing are sold at incredible discounts at the Dennis Basso Sample Sale. The sample sale also includes fur vests, fur-lined raincoats, cashmere coats & shearlings, dresses, gowns, and eveningwear.

Other equally tempting options are footwear and accessories for both men and women at Frye + Aquatalia Sample Sale and women’s footwear at the Fall ’17 and Spring ’18 Butter, Something Bleu, and Golo Sample Sale.

So when it comes to sticking to your living a more conscious life resolution, be sure to consult your own moral compass, and—as is true in all things—don’t be too tempted to compare yourself to others. We’re all making progress in our own time. For some of us, this might mean not purchasing anything new for a whole year or more, or going to other extremes to keep your new year resolutions alive. For the rest of us taking smaller baby steps, it’s comforting to know that our love of sample sales it’s not too bad of a choice, and supports our efforts in shifting towards a more conscious life.

Happy [ethical] shopping!


Posted by Staff Writer at 12:56 AM
A FASHION , Eco-Friendly , Fashion News , Fashion News , Fashion: Trends, Style, and Business , Insights , Our Views and Opinions , Shopping News , Shopping Trends , Sustainability , Trends |

6 March 2013

To be a successful vintage shopper in New York City, one must be patient, savvy and monetarily wise. It can be easy to spend a week’s paycheck in a single trip alone to a downtown vintage boutique, given their lustful and conveniently available selection of second-hand designer goods and edgy tattered clothing offered within their rustic motif. If your familiar with downtown, you are aware that you simply can’t walk a block in the East Village or Lower East Side without passing a vintage store. It’s their bread and butter, so much so that it would be too tedious for me to sit here and list each and every store individually, as it would take up the next three pages and then some!

If you are anything like me, you live for vintage goodies. The mere site of a perfectly worn in vintage tee shirt paired with a long antique necklace gives you goosebumps. The vintage look isn’t for everyone, some balk at wearing second-hand clothing and cringe and toting around a used purse. To each their own, I suppose, but at least that leaves more for us vintage-philes to sift through!

Downtown vintage stores are generally split right down the middle. There are vintage and antique boutiques that are museum like in their décor, making it nearly impossible to not want to splurge on their carefully handpicked vintage. Within these boutiques, such as the East Village’s Stock Vintage — which features a magazine worthy Americana motif — a Harley Davidson tee shirt can cost you up to $225 and a pair Laredo boots, around $300. And then there are the larger second-hand shops, which resembles a well arranged Salvation Army, that contain racks of used blouses, tees, button ups, jeans, etc., for superbly low prices. These stores, such as No Relation Vintage on 1st Avenue between 12th St and 13th St, are more time consuming than boutiques. These shops require you to sort through racks and bins in order to discover the diamond in the rough. However, if you are a dedicated and patient vintage shopper, this is by far the way to go, and will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Funny enough, What Goes Around Comes Around, one of the city’s priciest vintage boutiques, situated in SoHo, is celebrating the final days of a long and successful run of their pop-up outlet on Lafayette at Astor Place today. Since last year, this outlet has featured bundles of merchandise, leftovers, samples, and unwanted vintage from their New Jersey warehouse for incredibly low prices, compared to their over-priced SoHo boutique anyway. Until tomorrow evening, when the pop-up closes for good, every item storewide is 70% off tag prices and already discounted items. The majority of goods will only cost you between $5-$30, apart from jackets and specialty items.

When I visited the What Goes Around Comes Around’s Ultimate Vintage Sale this morning, there was plenty of merchandise still available, although the gems of the store have already been cleared out. However, don’t let this deter you! Utilizing the required vintage-shopping-patience can lead to a successful outcome, just as it did for the two trendy women in front of me on line who dropped $250 each at the register and toted away three very large bags jammed full of clothing.

As you enter the Ultimate Vintage Sale, there is a large table that features a variety of Inhabit cashmere sweaters, which are among the only non-second-hand items the sale offers. These typically expensive luxurious sweaters, now only run for around $40 a piece. After checking these out, start your quest for vintage by starting with what’s left of What Goes Around’s famous collection of hand picked vintage concert shirts, where you’ll find an Elton John tour shirt for $60 (orig. $200) and an Asia concert tee for $45 (orig. $150). Don’t exit the section without taking a gander at the small selection of designer jackets, such as the vintage Yves Saint Laurent Blazer for just $105 (orig. $350).

The remaining sections are fit for perusing, with plenty of round racks featuring fun vintage tee shirts for around $5, plaid button downs for as low as $3 and no more than $38, for those that are embellished. Bohemian skirts, peasant blouses, and denim dresses are all available for $30 and below, as are sweaters and cardigans. The fur coats are definitely worth your time, such as the gorgeous White Mongolian Fur Coat ($225, orig. $750) and the simple black and white long wool coat for just $23.

After you exhaust the racks of sweaters, blouses, button up, and denim shorts for under $10, start fishing through the giant bins of random finds for between $3-$5. Patience is a virtue! There are still plenty of diamonds in this rough!

If you are an inexperienced vintage shopper, get your start today or tomorrow by taking a slow stroll through the What Goes Around Comes Around Ultimate Vintage Sale. After you’ve gained your sea legs, work your way through the streets of downtown and pop in and out of the best, and most vast, collection of second-hand shops and boutiques this city has to offer!

Yves Saint Laurent Blazer for just $105 (orig. $350) at the What Goes Around Comes Around’s Ultimate Vintage Sale
Yves Saint Laurent Blazer for just $105 (orig. $350)
White Mongolian Fur Coat ($225, orig. $750) at the What Goes Around Comes Around’s Ultimate Vintage Sale
White Mongolian Fur Coat ($225, orig. $750)
Elton John tour shirt for $60 (orig. $200) at the What Goes Around Comes Around’s Ultimate Vintage Sale
Elton John tour shirt for $60 (orig. $200)
Embellished tops no more than $38 at the What Goes Around Comes Around’s Ultimate Vintage Sale
Embellished tops no more than $38
Sweaters and cardigans are all available for $30 at the What Goes Around Comes Around’s Ultimate Vintage Sale
Sweaters and cardigans are all available for $30
Inhabit luxurious sweaters, now only run for around $40 a piece
Inhabit luxurious sweaters, now only run for around $40 a piece

By Caitlin Colford

Posted by Caitlin Colford at 11:00 PM
bargain news , Opinions , SALES , Sample Sale Reviews , Saving Tips , SHOPPING |

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