Kilo sales – we have all seen these events pop up over the country, promising vintage clothes for less that £20 for a kilo. Great, vintage that is cheap and easy to access, with lots of sizes and coming to a town near you………. but it is really all that it is cracked up to be?
Let’s start with the word vintage shall we……sometimes you really can score a true vintage piece. A 1940s dress that is a little battered, some 1980s corkers, the odd 1960s mini. But, the vast majority of the clothes available are denims, sportswear and leathers from the 1990s to the 2000s that is literally 10 a penny. There is no real age, and every time one pops up, the local vintage store owners notice a real dip in trade and a demand for cheaper modern items.
But it is cheap for students! Yes, it is perfect for students and those on a tight budget, and there is a style to it. But let’s call it second hand yeah, cos it ain’t vintage.
But it is not buying new so that’s good! Well, yes, not buying new is always better for the environment, and whatever is bought is not in landfill. This is always better than fast fashion hauls. However, have you ever wondered where it has come from? Most of these kilo sales are stocked using MASSIVE bales of second-hand clothing that has come from abroad, meaning the carbon footprint on that bag of goodies is huge. And the funny thing is, a lot of the stuff at them is all of the clothing the UK sent to charity abroad in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. We are literally buying the stuff back that we paid to send over there in the first place……. that Champion jumper has more air miles than me!
I can get loads for not much money! Yes, you can. A jumper, a couple of tees and a pair of jeans for £20. Great if you really are strapped for cash. But, do you think that is putting value on clothing, fabric and garment workers? Or do you think it is maybe showing clothing has no value, like I don’t know, the same way fast fashion is? And if you buy loads that you only wear once, that is over consumption which guess what, is just the same issue as the modern high street just with a little greenwashing hat on.
And let’s face it, it isn’t like there isn’t tonnes of other second hand available in charity shops, online and on apps like eBay, Vinted, Depop etc.
So, what is the answer? The fact that second hand clothing is being made accessible to the masses is good, the younger generation is a lot more open to wearing not new. But it is important to know that the vast majority of clothing is not vintage, and having that many items for sale is not a suitable choice, it just shows that over consumption has been an issue for at least 30 years.
If you love vintage, why not hunt out some amazing real vintage seller on Instagram and Etsy? Have a look at your local charity shops and find their eBay shops to keep an eye what they have. If you go to a kilo sale, only buy what you really will wear and be mindful of where you pass on your unwanted items to, don’t just buy that dress for that one party.
Just ask yourself why there are 5 rails of the same item at every sale across the country, and why fast fashion is still making the exact same thing by the million…….