Candice Wu goes to a Vintage Kilo Sale in Hackney, picking up some unique pieces and conversing with the equally unique shoppers.
Thrifting and vintage shopping is always an adventure because you never know what you’ll chance upon. From branded activewear and glamorous fur coats to antique or quirky additions, there is something for everyone, and the often used or donated pieces are carefully curated together and resold at a far more affordable price point. There are tonnes of sales, events, and shops throughout the year in London for thrifting and vintage shopping. Stores such as Rockit Vintage in Shoreditch are open multiple days a week offering vintage finds and eclectic pieces. East End Thrift Store is also one to note with their monthly pound sales. There are even online vintage shops, such as Tigon Vintage on Depop or Etsy, where you can grab clothing at a bargain price!
For this particular event, it was a Vintage Kilo Clothing Sale. It occurs almost every week over the span of the weekend. At the beautiful York Hall in Bethnal Green, one only had to pay a small entrance fee of no more than £3 to access all of the goodies. For every kilo of clothes bought, it would only cost £15. Some events don’t charge an entrance fee while some charge per item, so each one is different yet still worth it to attend.
There’s always a misconception about thrifting and vintage shopping that the quality of the second-hand or repurposed clothing is either terrible, dirty, or outdated. As with any form of shopping, you just need to keep an open mind and put in the effort to find the pieces that pique your interest.
The quality of the pieces might not compare to brand new or original items from a retailer, or they might be even better quality. It really depends, but there are definitely good pieces that were either well taken care of or loved by the previous owners. There is also more history behind the second-hand or repurposed items that are apparent in the feel of the worn-out fabric or aesthetics.
The variety and diversity of the selection available to you is much greater than a traditional store or retailer. One can essentially find all that they need in one location in half the amount of time it would take them going from store to store. I was able to pick up five completely different items for only £26 all in one location within an hour.
There are no restrictions or requirements in regards to vintage shopping or thrifting, so the inclusive nature draws in different types of people, as well as the clothing. Besides my own thoughts, here are ten different opinions from shoppers at the event on vintage shopping.
- Brandon Smith (Graphic Designer): “[I go] just to find really interesting stuff. It’s also quite cheap because you can get like a denim jacket for under £15 if it’s under a kilo. It’s just to find really interesting and unique items, really.”
- Jamilah Harris (Brand Asset Manager): “It’s better for the planet. I love vintage fashion. It allows me to have a more unique style because you can find things that people aren’t going to be wearing.”
- Louise Johnson (Early Years Educator): “You can always find something that’s different from everybody else. You don’t have what everybody else is wearing, and it’s not fast fashion. It’s recycling and saving the planet. I think I only bought one new thing last year, apart from, obviously, underwear and all of that, but it was a bamboo dress from an ethical company. Everything else, I’ve sewn and
repaired from vintage shops. There’s good vintage shops in Brussels, lots of good ones.”
- Louis Bachiller (Student): “It’s normally cheaper than going to buy brand new stuff, and I like the old vintage look.”
- Phillipa (Costume Assistant/Supervisor): “You can always find good things, like period things, and, as well, contemporary
- things that are already worn out, which for our profession is quite important because it makes so much more real when you create a character. And, when you thrift shop, usually you find items that have some quirkiness to it. There’s always something different about them whether it’s the textures or the prints and the cuts, so it’s quite a good place to find stock.”
- Holly (Costume Designer): “When you come to somewhere like this, it’s a hotspot for such a range of pieces that you can sometimes spend days and days trying to track down across a regular charity shop
- field or whatever. There are also unique colours that you don’t tend to get on the High Streets or even in the high-end ranges. There’s a lot of interesting shades and tones of colours that are unusual to the eye for this period of time, and there are always pieces that I like to include in my films. There are also interesting cuts and shapes — period pieces but then also don’t look so obviously period that you can then incorporate into a contemporary film that gives it a real shift of uniqueness to the character and story as well.”
- Sam (General Manager of Postproduction): “[Thrifting is] cheaper!”
- Muhamed Badjie (Student): “It’s normally less expensive than normal clothing, and it kind of looks better. It has its own little niche and style, so I like that.”
- Koki Ogawa (Student): “[I like it] because it’s cheap.”
- Martha Reese (Student): “I like finding unique pieces to put into my outfits, so that’s why I do it.”
You can see more of Candice’s work on Instagram by following @Candice_x9.