Why do they love secondhand fashion?

In recent years, there has been an explosion of second-hand fashion “trends” around the world. In contrast to the safety-card pragmatism that pervades the fashion world today, young people are wearing a thick glorified filter on the designers and designs of the so-called “golden age” of fashion, and with the popularization of fashion archives on social media, when they look at past fashion archives, they find many designs that are still relevant today, which gives them an opportunity to connect with the past. When they look at the archives of the past, they find many designs that are still relevant in the present, which surprises them with a clue that allows them to form an emotional connection with the past.
On the other hand, fashion “micro-trends” spread on social media have also contributed to the popularity of second-hand fashion. When young fashion icons such as Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Halsey, etc. are wearing second-hand fashion/archives and showing their fashion attitudes, they are also influencing a huge number of their fans. Used clothing that has survived the passage of time and fashion history (categorized as Vintage or Archive depending on the situation) has undoubtedly become a favorite among fashion enthusiasts, and has influenced many luxury brands and historic designers to revitalize their classics under the slogan of tribute. The likes of Prada’s epochal nylon handbags, Raf Simons, Helmut Lang, Yohji Yamamoto and many others have all taken the initiative to jump into the waters of reproducing classic collections, with products from the first year of their existence being sold on the second-hand market at an all-time high.
There is a historical bias against buying second-hand clothes in terms of traditional Chinese attitudes. In the 1980s, when China’s economy was in transition, thanks to the reform and opening up, there were frequent exchanges between the East and the West, and famous Western designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin came to China to hold fashion retrospectives and fashion shows, giving the Chinese people their first taste of the “charm of fashion”. Chinese people felt the “charm of fashion” for the first time. At the same time, the development of the second-hand clothes and clothing market, the market emerged a large number of overseas “second-hand imported goods” influx, they were packed and shipped into China inland, became the fashion enlightenment of the Chinese young people at that time.
Mr. Xu, 65, remembers that his first suit was a “second-hand import” purchased at a local night market. “At that time, I was young and fashionable, and I didn’t have much money in my pocket, so I just thought the clothes were fashionable, and I didn’t care if they were from the right source, I just wanted to be fresh and happy,” he recalls. He recalled. The sales channels for second-hand foreign suits were as suspenseful as their origins, and they would be peddled at night markets or introduced by street guides who would lead them, as if in an underground party meeting, to small, secretive stores to pick them up. “Such stores were usually small, with an indescribable odor in the air, and clothes hung like salted fish on the wall or laid out on the floor, densely packed, a suit costing a dozen dollars or so.” When the early twenties of Mr. Xu, is a factory apprentice, the price of a suit is his monthly income, there is no lack of young people like him, willing to for the heart of the good “a throw of the monthly salary”. However, the common problem of such second-hand clothes is that the source is not traceable, hygienic conditions are doubtful, only to give rise to some of the rumors circulating in the community is not empty talk, “Some people would say that these clothes are from the dead body pulled down, or foreign garbage turned out, who do not know how the inside story, and later, we are accustomed to call them ‘foreign garbage! ‘.” Mr. Xu said.
But nowadays, patronizing second-hand clothes shops/platforms and buying second-hand fashions is a popular shopping habit for most young Chinese, who rely on these clothes to complete their own styles, as well as to make up for the missed golden age of fashion, or to enjoy the legacy fashions themselves, and to support the ideals of sustainable fashion.
Hattte0861, 24, currently working as a designer, is an avid second-hand fashion/archive buyer. He shows me photos of the corners of his home filled with secondhand fashion, a staggering number of them, almost all of them niche brands and many of them have already closed down, such as Masaki Matsushima, Beauty:Beast, 20471120, Lieve Van Gorp, Ryuichiro Shimazaki, Christopher Nemeth, Jurgi Persia, and many of them have already closed. Nemeth , Jurgi Persoon, Kei Kagami and more.
“The earliest opportunity to get in touch was when I saw a pair of Beauty:Beast tank-soled shoes on Idle Fish in 2019, and I’ve been on this ‘path of no return’ ever since,” says Hattte0861.” I’m a very curious person, love to find new things and love to dress up, plus the keywords of my favorite fashion style are dark and classic, and the fashion brands I favor will definitely include one of those elements.” He usually buys his fashion items at sea, and is fond of his first purchase, a long-sleeved top by Lieve van gorp. “I remember it was a print from a Lieve van gorp magazine in the late ’90s with the theme ‘Victim or Hero’, and it was my favorite. ‘ and it was at the top of my list of favorite brands.”
Young people like Hattte0861 who are obsessed with secondhand fashion are not a minority in China. In an incomplete survey of Weibo users for this article, young people who would buy and have bought secondhand fashion are mainly concentrated in the age group of twenty to thirty-five, and the channels for purchasing include and are not limited to online specialized sea-collecting platforms, secondhand resale platforms (e.g., Idle Fish, Xiaohongshu), and offline domestic and international physical Vintage shops, with favorite brands. Vintage stores at home and abroad. In addition to familiar luxury brands such as Burberry, Gucci, Prada, and Yves Saint Laurent, their favorite brands also include well-known designer brands such as Yohji Yamamoto, COMME des GARÇONS, Issey Miyake, Helmut Lang, Raf Simons, and Dries Van Damen, Raf Simons, Dries Van Notten and many more. It’s worth noting that a number of netizens have shared their first second-hand clothes with some fast-fashion brands, hanboks and Lolita clothes. However, there is also a small percentage of people who have so far taken a dim view of second-hand clothes, citing doubts about hygiene.
Driven by the cycle of demand and supply, China’s second-hand fashion/vintage clothing market has seen the emergence of more and more individuals and platforms selling second-hand clothing in a wide range of styles, while at the same time diversifying and fine-tuning their styles and clientele.
Xing Xing, who runs a second-hand vintage clothing store called “one plus one” in Beijing’s 798 Art Park, sells second-hand fashions all year round, including and not limited to well-known European luxury brands Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. The store sells second-hand fashion from well-known European luxury brands such as Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier, as well as Japanese brands with strong styles such as Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Kansai Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and many more. Xingxing was originally a punk rock musician for ten years, but later changed his career due to his interest, and was officially introduced to second-hand fashion in 2018.
He explains that the reason he came into contact with second-hand fashion and later opened his own store is similar to the reason he first got hooked on punk rock music, “It’s about freedom, and what music brings to people is the power of freedom and equality between people. I used to be in a band and traveled all over the world and was very happy, but now I feel that when I go around the world to collect Vintage, what I enjoy the most is the feeling of being on the road, and it’s very free.” Although he claims that he is “still learning about fashion brands,” his preference for music genres influences his choice of clothing brands to a certain extent. Vivienne Westwood and Yohji Yamamoto are his favorite designer brands, so he also uses them as his first choice, and then he chooses his favorite “Old School” styles. Filtered according to preferred “Old School” style, and finally the most important costing for many businessmen, “the time when the epidemic was closed, it would be entrusted to the local buyer to help find, and then sent to me.”
It’s worth noting that while many mainstream secondhand Vintage stores hang “hard goods” (often referred to as more recognizable and expensive showpieces) from the ceiling as signage, Interstellar is guided by his personal preferences and hangs his favorite, but not necessarily expensive, clothes to show his personal taste in style. He told me that there is a large proportion of young people with study abroad experience among the consumers, “There are more international students, and he/they are more knowledgeable, and their spending power is stronger. Sometimes when they come, people will just sit here and chat.” He also sincerely revealed a message about second-hand vintage stores – although it is considered an open secret in the industry, “Even if it is the same piece of clothing, the location of the store will very much affect the pricing of the clothes, for example, a piece of clothing in my lot sells for 600, and in the Third Ring Road, the price will be several times higher. The price to double several times, mainly because the rent is too expensive, the operating costs are particularly high.” This law of the industry is also in line with the pricing laws of many overseas offline vintage stores. For example, even in Tokyo, Japan, where second-hand vintage stores are the most prosperous in the world, the vintage stores in Shimokitazawa as a whole will be relatively cheaper than those in Harajuku, and also in Shimokitazawa, the stores on the second floor will be friendlier than those on the street. In addition, if it meets the reloading of the brand’s replica archive series mentioned earlier, it will also cause the price of similar items in the second-hand market to rise. Today, Xingxing has synchronized the opening of his own online channels and will broadcast live through some social media accounts, however, he smiles and says that because his character is so Buddhist, the content of the live broadcasts is also usually just chatting, as he believes that he sometimes prefers to chat with strangers and fellow artists than business.
Literally, second-hand fashion is certainly out of the constraints of the current fashion popularity of the freshness of the constraints, but there is also a consistent pyramid effect with the current fashion market: second-hand fashion is usually based on the degree of scarcity, the degree of brand luxury, the degree of the legend of the designers, vintage series and other criteria for differentiation, such as Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen and other categories in the jianghu to leave the legend, the success of the retirement (or faded) of the legend, their position in the design of a series of pioneering avant-garde works, has been unique in the fashion industry, needless to say that a lot of the degree of scarcity is enough to enter the collection of the archive (archive) level, most of the fashion enthusiasts for the hard to find, flock to it.
For those who are good at digging out second-hand fashion to become the new trend, it also shows his/her interest and eye for selection. 43-year-old Lan Xiao Ke, who lives in Chongqing, is both a fan of the designer Martin Margiela and a fashion buyer who sells mainly pieces from his own time as well as from his time as the Creative Director of Hermès. and as creative director of Hermès. Every time a new item is released or sold, she uploads the item on Xiaohongshu with a combination of matching photos of old shows, publicity campaigns, and celebrities on the body, and describes in detail the ins and outs of the item and its history, in addition to the familiar Tabi boots, but also the classic spring/summer 1997 “half” collection of Artisanal stacked aprons and poufs, which is one of the museum’s exhibits. In addition to the familiar Tabi boots, there is also the classic Artisanal’s “Half of” collection from spring/summer 1997, which is one of the museum exhibits.
This year is the fourth year as a second-hand fashion buyer, she said, the reason for joining the industry is that she is already very fond of Belgian designer brands, Martin Margiela is even more obsessed with, “At first I was looking for some items, and then I started to share them when I asked more people. To put it simply, I share what I wear.”
Designer Martin Margiela’s archive of the past, whether it be clothes, accessories, or shoes, has always been the object of fashion’s attention. His own legend is inextricably linked to his designs, and many of the deconstructionist details of his fashion are still pioneering and provocative today, which is why his archive pieces are priceless. Blue Xiao Ke revealed that she mainly obtains first-hand resources by paying attention to the updates of overseas online platforms on a daily basis, but also said that “nowadays there are fewer and fewer good goods [online], and fine products generally still need to be docked with professional people”. The “professionals” she refers to are a group of collectors who are connected by a common interest in Martin Margiela. She often communicates with them, and some of her archive work comes from their sharing, “Generally speaking, people who focus on a single [brand] will be more stubborn about their own preferences. The circle is small and it’s easy to communicate.”
Martin Margiela’s own period of works of a long time, the earliest 35 years ago, second-hand fashion is inevitably defective, “according to the public, my habit is to filter through the color (defects) is very obvious, such as stains basically can not be removed or badly damaged, this kind of I will take the initiative to exclude,” said Lan Xiao Ke. “But according to the collector’s mentality, I personally can accept all imperfections, so I will share this category to a small group of fans.” One of her most memorable experiences was when a new girl came in to buy an old Margiela handbag and, out of professionalism, she warned her about the obvious imperfections, but the girl, in her excitement at having won the bag, left a firm “I don’t care”.
There is a definite overlap between archive pieces and secondhand fashion, but it’s not a complete overlap. The difference between the two is whether or not the piece is a record of the designer’s golden years, and whether or not the original purchaser wore it daily or kept it as a work of art, i.e., the archive is “secondhand fashion”. In other words, although Archive is “second-hand fashion”, it is not necessarily worn, and, to some extent, it shares similarities with the circulation of the value of art collections: both are able to be sold at public auctions through specific channels and circulated among fashion collectors. One of the most famous events was the sale in 2016 of Raf Simons’ Parker coat ensemble from his Fall/Winter 2003 collection, created in collaboration with Peter Saville, for $200,000 in the first season of Grailed 100.

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