Vintage Clothing: Where Did it Originate and Why is it so Popular?

Where did vintage clothing originate?

As a fashion trend, vintage clothing took off during the 1960s. Prior to this, wearing and trading old clothing meant something different and it had not been widely positioned in the retail market.
Trading old clothing at all levels was supported by the fashion evolution between the 15th and 16th centuries which was picking up speed, along with the increase in consumer availability of fashion trends.
As commercial interest in fashion was increasing, old clothes were being traded. The original ragpickers (who were allied with outsiders including those in the lower class) would collect discarded garments and return them to the economic cycle.
The lower classes lived by a philosophy of "make do and mend", allowing them to recycle old clothing in a thrifty manner and be seen as patriotic during times of war.  These people would continue to pass clothing down through their families and rarely need to make purchases.
What we now know as vintage clothing had become a clear indicator of a person's social status. Wearing a garment that was too recent to be classic, but not new enough to be fashionable was a sign you were from the lower class.
Anyone who was known to be purchasing old clothing was pigeonholed as poor, an actor, or someone who is trying to appear of a higher status than they were. There was certainly a stigma attached, and they were looked upon with suspicion.
Before the mid-1960s, old clothing traders would sell their wares at market stalls, pawnbrokers, or auctions. The reputation of being a retailer of old clothing fell on two very different ends of the spectrum - it was viewed as both a criminal front for money laundering or, as charity shops came along, an upstanding, altruistic activity.
Until the late 20th century, most UK cities had large clothing warehouses which would distribute second-hand apparel. Eventually, there was a falloff in trade, making it rarer to get your hands on older clothing.
This saw a huge shift in the perception of people wearing used clothing, and it was no longer thought of as wearing old clothing out of necessity, but rather wearing "vintage" clothing as a fashion statement - and it rose to the upper-class boutique scene.

Why is Vintage Clothing so Popular?
Today, our relationship with vintage clothing is a positive one. It is sought after for a few reasons including:

What better reason to love something than because it makes you feel like the authentic version of yourself? Sometimes grabbing the hottest trend off the racks because everyone else is, just doesn't cut it. If you're a truly unique individual who loves wearing dresses that pay homage to yesteryear, then wear them proudly.

Everlasting trends
If you're a fashion follower, you'll notice that many modern trends incorporate classic features of generations gone by.  This usually means that old and new can effortlessly be paired together for a more elevated version of the trend.

History in a handbag
Who doesn't love a bit of nostalgia? Wearing vintage fashion can be a real nod to times gone by, not to mention a real point of conversation at a gathering or event.

Helping out the environment
Sustainability is all the rage, and with good reason. We need to be kinder to our environment and vintage clothing is much more positive than the fast fashion practices that are sadly all too common.

Where can I get my hands on some vintage pieces?
If we've inspired you to take some vintage clothing for a spin, and you want to add some beautiful pieces to your wardrobe, then look no further than Webook.

Our store is bursting with vintage fashion for men, women, and children -  ready for you and your loved ones to wear again and again.


Learn How sustainable vintage clothing are 

Explore Our collection of Vintage Clothing