Vintage Clothing Industry Resurrected Thanks to Gen Z

Vintage is So in Right Now

Gen Z is known for many things; TikTok, NFTs, digital activism, and pretty much everything digital and tech-related. And, despite seeming out-of-touch with retro culture, centennials have singlehandedly resurrected the vintage clothing industry.

Thrift Store © Spencer Cotton

Thrift Store © Spencer Cotton

What, why, and how?

Well, for starters, Gen Z is very aware of the ecological considerations of the fashion industry. Many Gen Z shoppers shun fast fashion because of its adverse effects on the environment and ethical considerations (a quick Google search will provide information on the effects of fashion purchases on the local cartoon footprint).  

Their commitment to social responsibility, morals, and ease of access to information about the consequences of their shopping habits are all factors that motivate them to seek alternative options. As a result, the younger generation is now looking away from retail and seeking alternatives with sustainable goals.

There’s also the fact that a more sustainable fashion industry isn’t only better for the world, but also for its workers. The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry was signed by retail giants to ensure safety coverage for over 2 million Bangladeshi garment workers. So, secondhand shopping isn’t only healthier for planet Earth and cheaper for the average centennial’s low budget. 

Thrift Store © Tired Thrift NY

Thrift Store © Tired Thrift NY

But, ‘shopping vintage’ isn’t the same as what many millennials and baby boomers might remember. When Gen Z shops vintage, they don’t rummage tacky garage sales or bales of clothes. They shop online and look for inspiration in micro-influencers and rising resale digital shops that give them both motivation and fits they can purchase from the comfort of their homes. 

An instrumental app in the resurgence of vintage clothing as mainstream has been the online platform Depop, a social media app with over 10m users. More accurately, Depop is a fashion marketplace app where users can find unique items all across the globe through their smartphones.

TikTok and Instagram Reels have also been essential in the rise of vintage clothing entrepreneurship among Gen Z, mainly as marketing tools to drive vintage clothing to the forefront. Social media has been used to shift the ideas and biases surrounding retail and vintage, providing an experience for digital customers and fans of the ’90s & Y2K silhouettes.

In short, Gen Z loves vintage because it’s affordable and socially responsible, and everyone they see on TikTok and Instagram is wearing secondhand. 2022 Fashion has been redefined by the younger generation, who’ll soon have enough spending power to shift the vintage landscape permanently. 

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