We live in a society where people love labels and adore designer clothing, yet not everyone can afford such extravagance. Spending £1000 on a coat or handbag may seem very little to some, but for others it is their entire wage and spending that level of money is unachievable. If like me you have a penchant for finer clothing, but cannot justify loosening the purse strings, there's one way you can get designer clothing for a fraction of the price - invest in vintage. Vintage clothing is often depicted as dusty moth-bitten secondhand rags that no-one wants, but if you know where to shop, this isn't the case at all. A lot of my own vintage clothing collection receives more attention than anything I have bought on the high-street and that is because I invest in quality, timeless pieces that blend in seamlessly into modern fashion. Amongst my collection are a few vintage designer clothing pieces that I have picked up for less money than a t-shirt in Topshop.
Investing in vintage designer can be a tricky game as you need to know where to look and exactly what you are looking for. There are many levels of vintage designers - a lot of it can be out of the average persons price pocket, but some brands such as Valentino, Moschino, Burberry can be picked up for less than £100. If looking for vintage designer clothing is something you want to try, here's a few of my tips.
First and foremost, if you are looking to build a classic vintage collection spend a few hours researching brands. Not all designer brands go under the same name as they are now, for example, Burberry used to be Burberry's until it dropped the 'S' in the late 90s and although it is not designer a popular M&S clothing line used to be called St Michael until it changed in the early noughties.
Check the labels for authenticity
Secondly, it is always worth remembering that just because some clothing is old, it doesn't mean that it hasn't been faked. Fakes have been around for decades and although it is rare, you can sometimes stumble across a vintage fake - especially in more premium designer brands such as Chanel. Always check the labels of the clothing to see if they are accurate and have a look to see if they have a serial number. One of my favourite vintage resources is the Vintage Fashion Guild. The Vintage Fashion Guild is full of vintage enthusiasts and collectors who have put together a wide range of resources that can help you date particular products and tell if they are authentic. You can also take part in the forum if you have further questions.
When it comes to actually buying the clothing, always ask questions to see how much the seller knows about the product. Questions you should ask are 'where did you buy it from?' and 'do you have any proof of its authenticity?'
Buy from reputable sources
When buying vintage designer clothing, always look for reputable sources. If purchasing on eBay, always look at their rating and the products they have sold previously - sometimes you will get genuine vintage dealers who know a lot about what they are selling, but in other cases you can sometimes come across people who have acquired a product they know nothing about. When buying on eBay ensure their description has plenty of information and analyse the photographs carefully. If you would prefer to buy from trustworthy sources check out the Vestiaire Collective and Farfetch.
Finally, keep an eye out in charity shops. Oxfam have a great vintage section online and in store and all the products are authenticated before they go on sale - I picked up the beautiful Aquascutum blazer in the main image of this blog post for £15 from my local Oxfam. Similar vintage Aquascutum jackets on eBay go for triple that price and a modern day Aquascutum coat can cost £300 upwards.
Have you bought any vintage designer pieces?