The rise of vintage clothing

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Tik Tok is a social media phenomenon. With over 689 million monthly users worldwide, it’s no surprise that it’s such an influential platform.

The concept of TikTok is simple. You upload short and catchy videos, whether it’s a montage of your favorite actor in a movie or a video of you dancing and having fun. The app allows people to express their creativity and is a place where communities can come together.

There are thousands of different items and niches on TikTok, the one I often find myself immersed in is known as “Fashion TikTok”. Basically a section of the app that has outfit inspiration and new creative looks. It is here that most current fashion trends are set. Oversized hoodies, tennis skirts and argyle prints are all examples of fashion trends that have been introduced to the public via TikTok. However, like many social media platforms, TikTok perpetuates trending culture, which forces people to conform to new trends for fear of being labeled as “too basic”.

On different social media platforms such as YouTube, I know there has been a huge following for “Try on hauls”. Which basically involves a Youtuber buying exorbitant amounts of clothes from big retailers like Asos and Shein. Which is both horrible for the environment and a huge contributor to fast fashion.

Currently on TikTok, influencers have made buying second-hand clothes “trendy”. Thousands of influencers on the app are encouraging their followers to embrace the new “Vintage” look. Embracing iconic fashion moments from the 90s and 2000s, it’s clear that older styles are making a comeback. In particular, Y2K made a huge comeback, with 1.5 billion videos under this hashtag. What better place to find old designs and redo them than your local charity shop or second-hand clothing websites such as Depop, Vinted and Ebay.

Depop is an international second-hand clothing website. Since its inception in 2011, Depop has amassed over 15 million users worldwide who primarily buy and sell second-hand clothes. I spoke to Vintage Club UK, a London-based company that has over 32,000 followers on its Depop platform. It offers “affordable and sustainable branded clothing for the world”. Vintage Club described Depop as “a regular producer”, saying that Depop is “a super simple platform” and that essentially “more stock = more sales”. I was intrigued by how the pandemic has affected businesses on Depop. According to Vintage Club UK, “the pandemic has had a positive impact on all online e-commerce business”.

I also spoke to Georgina from Blue Trax, a small company on the platform. Georgina finds beautiful vintage pieces and resells them. I wanted to hear his thoughts on fast fashion. She told me, “We need to realize that preserving vintage clothing is the most sustainable option. We can always be fashionable by simply browsing shops like mine.

Georgina is right. To be fashionable, we shouldn’t have to buy tons of new clothes from companies that exploit and underpay their workers. I think this trend on TikTok is actually a good one because it encourages people to support small businesses and charities. However, my main question is: is this trend genuine? Do people really buy second-hand for the good of the environment or because it has become “fashionable”? Also, while I encourage everyone reading this article to start buying used, I want you to do it for the right reasons.

With special thanks to:

VINTAGE CLUB Store – Depop

Georgina’s Shop – Depop

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