Why We Carry Vintage and New
This is inspired by and adapted from an Instagram post we made in August 2018.
Sometimes people visit our shop for the first time and are surprised to see vintage items intermixed with our collection of independent designers, and we get it. It's a little strange to see a used $49 blouse next to a new $298 blazer. Here's why we do it.
Vintage is sustainable
Vintage is inherently sustainable because you are giving something new life instead of tossing it. As fast fashion has grown, it's not as easy to hold onto pieces as it used to be - they simply aren't made to last. We love finding special pieces that will continue to last and feel unique.
When buying contemporary goods for the shop, we have strict guidelines. We only carry ethically made goods, so if the people behind the garment weren't paid well and treated safely, we don't buy it, period. We also only carry natural, recycled, or deadstock fabrics, and even then have exceptions. We don't carry cashmere, chromium-tanned leather, acrylic, or rayon/viscose. We have specific reasons behind all those guidelines (that will likely become their own blog posts in the future) based on ongoing research and conversation as the shop and sustainable fashion grows. It can feel limiting, but we also feel content knowing that we are 100% proud of every new item in the shop.
We employ a similar level of thoughtfulness about the vintage we find, but we are not as exclusive in fabric or manufacturing. It's not because they no longer matter - we still look for natural fabrics and goods made in the USA whenever we can - but because the items have already been made and used. We aren't contributing additional stress on the environment or workers, and it doesn't do any good to throw those items away now if they can be worn again. The truth is, polyester lasts practically forever. That doesn't mean I want more of it to be made unsustainably, but it does mean we can take advantage of unique goods made from the hearty fabric 30-ish years ago.
We view vintage as a direct sustainable alternative to fast fashion because the price point is similar or lower for a product that is usually better quality and certainly more unique.
Quick personal anecdote: just a couple months ago I had tickets to a drag show and wanted to wear something bold and fun and sparkly - if you've been in our shop, you know that that's not typically our aesthetic (although there is talk about a NYE dress vintage capsule...), and I didn't have anything in my wardrobe that would work. I could have swung by H&M and spent $30 on a dress that was perfect for that one occasion, but instead, I found the perfect sequined Jessica McClintock dress at a local vintage shop.
Inclusivity is important
We aren't going to pretend that new designer pieces are affordable for everyone; they're not. We also aren't going to apologize for the prices, because we know that the sustainable materials, quality of the garment, and fair wages to the individuals who made the garment are worth every penny. We recognize that these items are an investment, and it can feel like a barrier of wealth or privilege in order to shop sustainably. Vintage offers a lower cost alternative that allows shoppers to still support local shops, shop thoughtfully, and maintain a tighter budget as needed.
Vintage also allows us to carry a full size range. When we search for items to add to the shop, we look at the item first. If we love it, we take it, no matter the size, which means we have a selection of vintage that can fit anywhere from a size 0 - 26. While we are committed to getting our contemporary designers to that size range, the manufacturing logistics are complicated (that, too, can be a blog post on its own) and this allows us to fit more bodies more quickly.
Curating the collection is fun
The hunt for vintage pieces never gets old, and the styling them with other contemporary pieces is so much fun.
It's hard to explain the rush when you stumble upon a truly amazing find. I still remember how incredible it was to find a wool Christian Dior separates suit in my hometown antique store when I was 17. I also remember how excited I was to find a pair of no-name open toe D'Orsay pumps with a tapestry print - and I still have them to this day.
It's rewarding to pass that excitement on to shoppers when they stumble upon a stunning wool coat or statement handbag that they won't find anywhere else.
Vintage curation also allows us to showcase our unique point of view in a different way. There are so many incredible vintage curators (especially around the Twin Cities! We've included a list below) but we aren't worried about feeling duplicative because each curator is looking for something different and tells a story in a different way.
Twin Cities Vintage Curators
This list is certainly not exhaustive! Minneapolis Vintage Market has become an excellent resource for vintage dealers, but here are a few of our favorites.