VINTAGE VALOUR – exploring the benefits of second-hand shopping
Jessica-belle Greer unpacks secondhand clothing’s stylish and sustainable retail renaissance.
Living in a country once relatively remote from the malls of the world, many New Zealanders used to count on second-hand shopping to deliver niche international designer brands. Yet even though almost any label can now be delivered at the touch of a button, pre-owned clothing is even more prevalent today.
Whether stocking a leading label’s previous seasons or vintage pieces – considered to be items 20 or more years old – the number of high-end resellers is increasing. After watching her parents build popular national resale outpost Recycle Boutique, Aimee Egdell opened second-hand store Tatty’s, which is now in two Auckland locations. “It’s part of our culture to make use of what we have and think outside the box,” she says. “Second-hand shopping is a way to do this.”
With sustainability a major focus of the 21st century, a wider range of people are also cottoning on to the need to rehome their clothes to avoid wastage. “Shopping second hand is now not only considered acceptable, but a positive choice to make,” says Egdell. “Recycling is a way to bring about change – environmentally, economically and socially.”
Melaina Newport-karaitiana, owner-operator of Napier’s Aroha and Friends, says she sells a selection of pre-loved pieces alongside new-season stock as part of the store’s ethical agenda and appreciation of the industry. “It’s really important that you’re reducing the amount of clothing that’s ending up in landfills,” she says. “You’re valuing the hours of craft that go into highfashion production, beyond the fresh new ticket price.”
One of the original second-hand destinations in Auckland, Scotties Recycle has been curating designer cast-offs since 1999. Co-owner Sonja Batt cites both sustainability and the thrill of the chase as key to its success. “Its popularity has grown considerably due to the excitement of finding the unexpected, and the ability to purchase a designer item at a fraction of the cost.”
Eclectic store Ziggurat opened in Wellington in the 1980s and current custodian Kate Bryant says an increase in awareness of the benefits of buying second-hand has enhanced its popularity. It’s the best way to find a one-of-a kind piece ready to walk out the door in, she says. “When shopping in a place like Ziggurat, I’ve done all the work for you. Each item is hand-picked for its uniqueness.” With shoppers now happily mixing high-end and high-street for a new kind of fashion cred, styling garments from collections past as well as the current season is a fun way to add creative flair to your look. Take a sequinned retro top teamed with a pair of jeans, for example. No longer just a night-time look, combine it with flats and simple accessories for an excuse to wear second-hand shine anytime.
An increase in retro and vintage appreciation means there’s never been a better time to peruse these boutiques. Passionate retailers are more dedicated than ever to delivering the trifecta second-hand shoppers seek: high-quality, interesting pieces at a reasonable price.