The first and probably last fashion column I’ll ever write – here’s a few words on thrift culture, and why it makes sense to embrace the subcultures of the past.
More here: smithsmagazine.co.uk
London fashion is constantly on the move – constantly changing, diverting and reanimating the subcultures of bygone eras with new cuts and different colours. But there’s nothing quite like fashion that never looses it’s appeal. Classicism is something we often miss when it comes to working out our wardrobe. In our own bids to stay on the mark of what’s new – we forget that it’s often the thriftier materials, stolen from old family members, from mates, and at parties, that really hold the texture of our outfits together.
In the last few years, London has seen a boom in thrift culture – permeated by a massive rise in bargain warehouses, selling clothes by weight and bag, rather than by clothing line and brand name. And as a sales technique – it’s wonderfully appealing. Not only does the shopping experience usually consist of digging through boxes and boxes of staples from the past – but it also brings out a selective, more personal approach to finding clothing to wear. After all – how many times have you seen the obscurities you’ll find in a backroom bargain thrift basement appear again on other students around the college campus? Thrift culture is wonderful. It restores the old, comes at bargain prices – and allows you to imprint your personality on everything you wear.
But what’s the future for thrift fashion – and could it be on the cusp of becoming part of mainstream London fashion consciousness? Well considering the number of bargain basements opening every week – from Brick Lane to Shepherds Bush – a boom in items sourced from these little outlets appearing in the weekly fashion press is surely not an impossible notion.
Really at the heart of thrift, is a culture that’s been lost to modern society. In many senses – our clothes now are more dispensable than ever before. Instead of sharing, we throw away our unloved items, or donate them to charity shops, where they sit lonely and unloved on shelves until some lonely soul picks them out. But with thrift – there’s a culture for sharing antiquities of the past. Thrift lets us share common cultures – exploring the counter-narratives to societies common consciousness that permeate the past. Thrift brings out vitality for expression. Thrift brings out an eagerness to be different. It’s an essential part of British fashion – and it’s something we should all embrace.