The new vintage phenomenon gets its own fair

Vintage clothing, or second hand clothing as it’s also called, is rising as fashion-phenomena around the world. The interest in and demand for vintage clothing has increased dramatically since the early 1990s, due to celebrities and environmental awareness. Now, the vintage – fever has struck also Finland for real. Helsinki Vintage arranges a big vintage fair in the centre of Helsinki which gathers vintage-oriented retailers and second hand re-sellers from all of Finland under one roof.


Helsinki Vintage fair is set to take place the 8.2.2009 in the Valkoinen Sali, Helsinki at 11-18. There several Finnish vintage and second hand shops will de displayed and presented. Beside fashion, you will also find other collections of vintage culture such as decoration items, music from the past and hobby stuffs. All in the name of vintage.


The origin of vintage

The word vintage is copied from its use in wine terminology, as a more elegant-seeming euphemism for “old” clothes. Vintage clothing is a generic term for new or second hand garnments originating from a previous era. The phrase is also used in connection with a retail outlet, for example “vintage clothing store.” It can also be used as an adjective: “This dress is vintage”. Clothing that have been produced from the 1920s to 1980 is considered vintage, clothes from previous eras are called antique.



Two kinds of shops

There are roughly two kind of a vintage merchandising; recycling, good-will second hand and more high fashion vintage boutiques.

The good-will second hand shops have become more and more popular as people have become more aware of the environment. There has been an increasing interest in environmetal sustainability in terms of reusing, recycling and repairing rather than throwing thinsaway. People give their old hand me downs to the second hand shops who sell the old clothes and the profit from the merchandise goes to good-will. When people let their clothes “circle”, less material go to waist and more people can benefit from a single clothing.

Reasons why people are attracted to vintage clothing:

  • Unique or almost unique: most items were custom made, and others were manufactured in small quantities only.
  • Good quality: they were designed to be worn for years and passed on to other family members, so they were made of robust materials, well cut and well made, with generous seam allowances and hems which allow for alterations and custom fit.
  • Fine materials: many of the unusual older fabric types are no longer manufactured, or are now prohibitively expensive.
  • Value for money: garments generally sell for a cost far below similar new modern garments.
  • History: an appreciation of the past, the roles of previous generations and the skills of respected designers.
  • Detailing: hand finishing, unusual buttons, hand embroidery, handmade lace, crochet, applique, beading and other techniques.
  • Style: vintage clothing has traditionally been the favourite of creative personalities because it offers an enormously wide range of imaginative styles.
  • Investment: some people buy to collect rather than to wear, and increasingly, good quality vintage garments especially items by well-known designers are sought after by collectors.

photo: Penny Lane

Where do the clothes come from?

Typical for the vintage stores is that they purchase their clothes and sell them with more or less profit. The vintage stores can get their clothes from different sources. The most common source is rag houses. A rag house gets inventory from unsold thrift stocks, and they sell them to the vintage stores.

Other sources for vintage stores are swap meets, vintage fairs, and the owners can also buy clothes themselves from different places, like flea markets.

Most of the clothes in the vintage stores are used, but the stores can also get samples from designers and shops.

A check showed that the vintage stores in Helsinki get their clothes from different sources.

Kaunis Veera, the oldest vintage shop in Finland, started in 1973, when some friends met and changed their clothes with each other. Nowadays, the owner purchases the clothes from all over the world, both from traders and private people. The owner is also often in the USA and buys clothes there.

The vintage store Amado offers e.g. designer bags and designer shoes, and clothes. Half of the clothes in Amado are boutique outlet, the rest comes e.g. from taylors and private people.

This link shows a list of the vintage stores in Helsinki!

“Purses of crocodile skin are super hot!” – shopping vintage in Helsinki

Fashion blogs

Blogging has become a popular downtime activity among the Finnish. The vintage lovers have also caught up the advantage of blogs. They give each other tips about fashion; where to shop and what to wear. The fashionistas take pictures of themselves, demonstrating the ‘look of today’, and have hundreds of visitors per day. These persons have already become sort of celebrities in some circles and their style is copied all over the country.

Finnish vintage fashion blogs:

Only Shallow

The Freelancer’s Fashionblog

Colour me !

Tammikuun puutarha

Tell Me a Story Vintage

photo: The Freelancer’s Fashion blog


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