Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Vintage clothes popularity rises: Environmental sustainability; individuality; the styles rebound

By Sophia Afsar-Keshmiri, Chronicle Summer Staff

Laura Traudt, owner of Laura’s Vintage, touts “a 70’s maxi dress” that “looks very 1930’s.” Chronicle photo/Sophia Afsar-Keshmiri

Laura Traudt, owner of Laura’s Vintage in Glens Falls, has noticed vintage clothing is “getting more difficult to find, because it’s so popular.”

She says, “I’ve sacrificed a lot of my own collection” to keep her store stocked.

Ms. Traudt says environmental sustainability drives the popularity of vintage clothing.

“A lot of my younger customers don’t want to buy any new clothing,” she says.

“They’re worried about climate change.”

She tells of one customer who says “she won’t even buy a pair of new jeans because of the amount of water it takes to make a pair.”

“I think the sustainability trend will survive,” Ms. Traudt says, “whether it’s sustainability through buying vintage, or buying things that are made…in a sustainable way….

“I think…‘fast fashion’ is…falling by the wayside,” because “people are tired of spending…money on things that are disposable.”

Kyleen York, owner of Finder’s Keepers Consighments, holds a dress she says reminds her of Marilyn Monroe. Chronicle photo/Sophia Afsar-Keshmiri

Kyleen York, owner of Finder’s Keepers Consignments, says of vintage clothing: “I believe…we have entered a time that we are striving for individuality” and “our society encourages” it.

“Including the 60’s through the 90’s in our individual styles represents the current need for individuality,” she said.

“Men and women can combine all of these…to create their own sense of style.”

Mrs. York says, “I hope this trend will last forever because I believe that individuality is the most important thing,”

“Shine your crazy diamond,” she urges.

Jessica Sullivan, owner of new Glens Falls store Once Upon a Time Consign, had similar thoughts.

“I think it’s great that fashion trends are coming back,” she said. “I know I grew up in an era where you could dress however you wanted and…individuality was very accepted.”

Ms. Traudt says tastes change and that vintage “as a trend now…might fall off eventually. If it’s appealing to…20% now…30%, that’s great.” But “it’s maybe…10% of the population…that like it have always liked it and will always like it.” For them it’s “perennial.”

A self-proclaimed “vintage girl,” Ms. Traudt says she’s “always just loved old things” and “it’s always been the coolest thing ever.”

Jessica Sullivan, owner of Once Upon A Time Consign, says, “I think my favorite era for fashion is definitely the 60’s and 70’s. I’m a hippie at heart.” Chronicle photo/Sophia Afsar-Keshmiri

“There are some girls that…dress 1930’s style, 1950’s style, and they’ll decorate their homes with…vintage and antique furniture.”

“I have one customer that collects 20s, and 30s.” She says “the older the better” is what this customer craves.

She said she often sees people from out of town coming into her store.

“Vintage girls will seek out vintage anywhere they go. I know I do that when I go anywhere,” she said.

Miss Sullivan says she too has “always loved old clothes.”

She recalls “finding a pair of my grandfather’s old army pants…and wanting to wear them every single day just because they were his and…they were so old.”

Nothing new under the sun

Both Ms. Traudt and Miss Sullivan say past styles regain popularity.

“In my opinion, in the 1970’s there was a whole retro 1920’s and 1930’s thing going on,” says Ms. Traudt. “You see it reflected in fashion,” she adds. For example, “you’ll see dresses from the 70’s that have kind of a 30’s vibe.”

She said recently she sold “a 70’s maxi dress” that “looks very 1930’s,” noting “ruffles…the puff sleeve, the lace,” that she says give it this “vibe.”

“There’s always been” a “nostalgia element to fashion,” said Ms. Traudt. And “there are always different designers who draw on previous decades.”

Similarly, Miss Sullivan said “when I was growing up…a lot of the trends were…from 20 years before…I think we really go through that a lot.”

She says, “I think it’s really…every… decade, we go back a couple of decades.”

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