Tuesday, March 30

A GREEN Passion for VINTAGE?

I'm not much of a vintage junkie, but I've been an avid Ebayer (on and off) for past three years because I like the price of buying preowned and because I don't see the point in paying full price for something I might only want for a season. Back in Finland I used to go to thrift stores where everyone rents their own stall and prices their own items so it was easy to find good deals. Here in Cali I find that Goodwill in certain nice neighborhoods is...alright (I liked the one in Menlo Park more than the one in Pasadena), and then there are stores like Buffalo Exchange which buy from you for a really cheap price (I've still sold there though, for the convenience) and then sell Forever 21-$5 prices. I think that if you're going to sell preowned the prices should be lower and quite honestly I don't know if those stores clean the clothes they receive but there's always a weird smell wafting out of their doors (which is why yobu has pretty much forbidden me to enter one except to donate or sell). I noticed at Buffalo Exchange they just price the items and throw them into a basket, which I'm assuming they just hang up on racks later on...?

...I lost my point, right, so I think Ebay has wider access, more members, and thus more options.  Ebay has also recently begun a Green Campaign to educate the masses on the environmental benefits of buying preowned. If you check out the Green Team website you'll find that they've gathered nice logical examples of why you should buy/sell on Ebay, which include saving more energy than participating in Earth Hour btw.  As Janie Van Roe pointed out in her post, this could open the doors to another group of people (namely people who want to be part of the trendy green movement but do not necessarily want to buy the overpriced eco-friendly fashion pieces) to become vintage-buyers as well. She raises the question of whether this new advertising tactic will affect consumer consciousness...?

Another blogger, Sapphire Whisperer is a fashion stylist and vintage lover, who believes that buying preowned only interests a certain group of people and the rest of us can only "dapple" in it. She states in her post that while she hearts the campaign, she finds it unlikely that anyone will become a vintage shopper for the sake of being green. Now I think that she has a point, that perhaps loving vintage is like loving antiques, where some of us enjoy revisiting classic styles and others see dead people sitting on antique chairs (from the movie "I Hate Valentine's Day").  Yobu is one of those people who (annoyingly enough) asks me funny questions like what if the clothes belong to dead people? or sick people? or the diseased? or dirty people? and if I want to buy him something thrifty from Ebay it has to be new with tag or he will gag. I find this terribly amusing, especially when you can obviously just wash/steam the piece yourself if you think others haven't done a good-enough job. However, given that I live with such a paranoid vintage-hater I can understand that the green movement is not going to attract hoards of people into the vintage scene.

However, this is what I also think; that "green people" (people who really want to make a difference and aren't just passively following a trend) already buy preowned and vintage, because they are "that kind of people".  Those trend followers might buy a used cappuccino maker or a used car, but they likely not adorn themselves with vintage.  It's sort of like I've managed to convince yobu that if I see an amazing vintage blazer he can totally wear it as long as he gets it dry cleaned first (he agreed that as long as it doesn't directly touch his skin it's not "gross" XD).  Since ebay sells a lot other than clothing (i.e. jewelry, books) their mass campaign still makes sense. To get ordinary fashion buyers to purchase preowned would (I think) require a different tactic of advertising, where consumers would have to be informed of how these vintage pieces are cleaned (no bed bugs!) and they should probably feature some white-jacket scientists proving that vintage pieces are not "dirtier" than new pieces. For my opinion is that without removing the stigma of ew! someone used that already? now it has their germs! vintage shopping is not going to soar merely on the basis of saving money or being environmentally conscious.

What do you think? Which group do you belong to? Are you a What do you think? Which group do you belong to? Are you a vintage shopper?


  1. Love this post, because I get into these sorts of debates with my friends. Half of my friends are all about Goodwill/thrifted/vintage finds and the other half think there are too many germs, mystery stains, etc. Personally, I love shopping anywhere really, but when I buy secondhand I feel like I'm being less of a "consumer" and I don't regret unnecessary purchases as much. Plus, when you buy vintage, you don't have to worry about running into someone wearing your same exact outfit (gasp!).
    Side note: thanks for following my blog and for mentioning on WWEPW that I had comments disallowed. I didn't even know! Hopefully it's fixed now.

  2. Hmm I like vintage for the quirky finds, sweet deals, and uniqueness factor but I cannot STAND that old musty smell that they sometimes have!! If it smells, I'm not buying it. I can get smelly old clothes from my grandma for free so I'll only buy quality vintage items!

  3. Itsrainingonmyface - I know what you mean, I sometimes just feel like I'm not really shopping because it's preowned ;P

    MizzJ - I cannot stand the smell either, sometimes in the store I can live with a mild stench, but when I get home I have to wash it immediately!


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