Vintage – ‚Green‘ style at low costs

Today’s blog post is not about sustainability while traveling but rather in everyday life. Vintage and second hand are popular again and offer many benefits. Instead of following the spending spree and throwaway mentality a look into old wardrobes is definitely worth it.

Clothes as a throwaway product

Shopping and following current fashion trends has become much cheaper and therefore easier in the last years. Worldwide more than 100 billion garments are bought every year and after wearing them a few times they are likely to be thrown into the bin. All of this happens due to our steadily rising urge for consumption, the consequences of which we might not think about enough: employees in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and China work under inhumane conditions to produce our cheap clothes. The chemicals that are being used, do not only pose a risk to the environment, but also to the employees and last but not least to the consumer. On top of that, due to the throwaway mentality, huge amounts of waste arise. „Today’s trends are tomorrow’s waste,“ states Alexandra Perschau, specialist for textiles at Greenpeace, and: „We buy and dispose our clothes so fast that the world can not keep up with the pace.“ People are making too many clothing donations, hence 42 countries in Africa, South America and Asia already draw a line when it comes to importing old clothes.

Clothes from grandma

The times when Second-Hand clothes were old and dusty, with a mothball flair and far from being stylish are long gone. Vintage is popular again and can even be beneficial. Instead of buying new clothes produced to look old, buying the old original seems to be a good deal. In doing so, fashion becomes long-lasting again and the positive side effect: you can wear something not every second person on the street owns, too. In some big cities, e.g. Amsterdam, you find Second-Hand and vintage shops at every corner. But as the trend evolves more and more Second-Hand shops are being opened everywhere, flea markets and clothes-trading markets boom and online shops like Oma Klara in Germany offer vintage dresses straight from the wardrobe of real grandmas. In Miami you find the second hand store of Madeleine Kirsch offering well preserved vintage designer fashion of the last 100 years on 10.000 square meters.

Renaissance of the classics

Of course the trend towards more sustainability due to recycling, up cycling and vintage is not only to be found when it comes to fashion – used products are in the centre of attention in many different areas. Especially when buying furniture, pieces from the 20s or 70s are popular again. The high quality as well as the usage of sophisticated material are responsible for this specific trend. While the throwaway society moves ahead, some of us seem to reflect and value longevity again. As with every trend, forgers are not far away, so make sure to buy an original instead of piece in „old-fashioned style“.

Saving money through repairing

The Swedish government reduced the VAT on repair work as of January 2017 to incentive repair work instead of buying new products. The VAT on reparations for electronic devices, bikes, clothes and more is now reduced from 25 to 12 percent. With this initiative the country follows eight role models in the EU like Ireland, Malta, Poland and the Benelux countries. Additionally the costs can be set off against tax liability. All of this shall encourage Swedish citizens to repair rather than throw away and the companies to produce long-lasting products.