A Stylist & Vintage Obsessive Shares Her Tips For Buying Pre-Loved
My journey with vintage and pre-loved fashion has been life-long. I remember visiting my older brother Angus at university and he’d put together a very eclectic wardrobe – a teal mohair overcoat coat and a big oversized leopard faux fur coat were two of the standouts. I loved that they had a story to them – it was such a draw.
Today, vintage and pre-loved shopping is far more fashionable. It’s definitely helped that celebrities have made it more mainstream, with stars like Rihanna and Bella Hadid turning it into a more aspirational choice. There’s an element of kudos when you’re spotted in something iconic or rare, but it doesn’t even have to be that – it can just be cool and original, like nothing you’d find anywhere else.
A real step change was seeing Love Island and eBay join forces. I was really surprised when they asked me to be the stylist on last summer’s show. It was significant because these two mega brands had decided to infiltrate – and hopefully change – the psyche of people who usually worship at the altar of fast fashion. The fact that magazines and influencers talked a lot about the partnership also spoke volumes – suddenly, buying second-hand was all people in the fashion elite wanted to talk about.
I’m not convinced fast fashion will cease altogether. But there is certainly a move away from unethical brands and people are more aware about where things come from and what they cost to make. Consumers are finally becoming more circular in their shopping habits too, and amid the cost-of-living crisis, more people are setting up online accounts to sell on parts of their wardrobe.
Vintage shopping is such such a huge part of my life. When I was a fashion director, I was always trying to weave pre-loved pieces in to shoots and change the negative perception about it looking worn or passé. After I launched the campaign #CHOOSEPRELOVED on Instagram at the end of last year, it felt like I was finally playing a bigger roll in making vintage or pre-loved fashion a movement, rather than a token gesture.
The beauty of buying pre-loved is that you often find things you didn’t know you were looking for. Equally, you can also find pieces you’ve wanted for years. Recently, I tracked down a Marc by Marc Jacobs motocross top that I’ve spent a decade searching high and low for.
Getting more celebrities and influencers into vintage shopping will move things forward. Venetia La Manna is an incredible force in this industry and she’s not afraid to call out some of the worst perpetrators. Then, as I mentioned, lots more A-listers have been wearing an incredible selection of vintage pieces and amazing looks from the noughties. It’s so good to see and it really normalises the idea.
My favourite pre-loved pieces are my Prada loafers, my cashmere floor length coat, my Chanel bag, my vintage leather jackets and my Vivienne Westwood black Cocotte dress. My Prada loafers were worn once and I paid £400 for them – close to half price. It’s kind of like a car; as soon as something is worn it decreases in value. That said, true vintage isn’t always cheap and that’s because it’s often rare – it’ll cost even more if it’s in good condition, too.
To shop smart, make the most of the search tools on any given shopping site. I also like to make it a social occasion and spend a Saturday with a friend browsing local vintage or charity shops – you can give each other honest feedback and encourage each other to try things you might not have otherwise. Also, go onto Pinterest or Instagram and look for specific things. Don’t be scared to have things altered either; if it’s something you can tailor, you’ll end up with something really unique.
This year is looking really exciting for pre-loved and vintage fashion. Personally, I’m looking forward to working with Trinny more to spread the message. Love island has also partnered with eBay again, so that will be an amazing challenge. It feels like the fashion industry is finally taking vintage and pre-loved seriously, which is a huge step forward environmentally and socially.
Inspired? Amy Shares Her Five Favourite London Boutiques For Pre-Loved Fashion…
This is where I get my denim – it has an amazing selection of jeans and a really eclectic mix of fashion.
55-59 Hanbury St, E1 5JP
You won’t believe the the sheer volume of fashion on offer here – it’s hard to go in and not find something. It’s a treasure trove for partywear – think lots of leopard print and jacquard.
92-100 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XB
The collections at Pop are really well-edited, so you don’t have to do a lot of trawling or spend ages finding something good.
30 Short's Gardens, WC2H 9PX
I found my favourite 90s Miu Miu snake print platform shoes for £60 at Goldsmiths. The prices are great. There’s also a sale area in the basement; everything’s a tenner, so it’s definitely worth a look.
121-123 Charing Cross Rd, W1D 4AS
Reign is more of a boutique – everything is laid out really beautifully. It’s not expensive, and the men’s section is a firm favourite. I’ve found some really surprising things here.
12 Berwick St, W1F 0PN
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