Vintage has made a huge come back in the recent years moving style towards a sense of uniqueness and self-expression. In the words of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, “so soon as fashion is universal, it is out of date.” Fashion statements are made when we stand out and the fashion industry essentially cycles through past trends by adding a modern twist to bring it into the contemporary. Even high powered stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe has spoken out about her love for acquiring vintage pieces for her closet.
Shopping thrift and vintage has several advantages, which include the obvious savings when it comes to price. It allows you to do your part in promoting sustainability. It’s also unlikely a majority of people will have the item you find at a thrift or vintage boutique. The most unique thing about vintage pieces is the history behind it that stands out from items you might find at a department store. The method of how it’s made will also differ from what we see today where clothing is mass-produced.
One of my favorite thrift boutiques is My Sister’s Closet located on Seymour Street in Vancouver, which supports battered women services. Generous donors from around the Yaletown community drop their lightly used or new clothes, shoes and accessories to aid the cause. All proceeds from the boutique go to supporting battered women within the community. The boutique also sends donations out to women who are in need. Corporations such as Guess and Artizia have supported the boutique, which is run by retail manager Samantha Kearney and her group of volunteers.
I have to admit that a large percentage of what’s in my closet is vintage and from thrift boutiques such as My Sister’s Closet. I’ve also found that when people approach me to ask where I got a certain piece of clothing from it’s usually a vintage. I caught up with Kearney to ask her some questions about shopping thrift and giving back to the community.
Q: What are some tips for shopping thrift and finding great items?
I think shopping thrift takes patience and because social media has become such a large part of communication in today’s world, it can be used to find great items that have just come into the store. Just last month, there was someone who dropped off a bag of unused designer shoes, which created quite a buzz in the store and promptly flew off the shelf. We often tweet or Facebook items on social media so that’s a good way to find great items. We also organize our items in a manner that promotes ease when it comes to shopping and finding what you need.
Q: How does My Sister’s Closet bring the community and shoppers together?
One of the unique things we do is to also support artisans in the community. Pieces of jewelry or the artwork they create is sold at our boutique where a small portion of proceeds will go back to support the artist. I believe that great style should be accessible to everybody and we aim to do that for our shoppers. A large part of support comes from our donors. We accept lightly worn or new clothes seven days a week and will sort through it to decide what makes it into our boutique. The ones that don’t make it to our racks will be donated to women in need so nothing is wasted or thrown away.
(Writer’s note: Shopping thrift for a cause really is guilt free shopping when you know your money is going to those in need. I took the opportunity to find some great items while I was in there and found a Michael Kors fur scarf, a French Connection red satin dress, mint green Aritzia shorts and a Ralph Lauren blazer. Check out the looks I created from items that were found at My Sister’s Closet in the gallery.)
Amy Yew is a contributing columnist at Vancouver Courier. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.