On a chilly mid November morning I find myself waiting outside a cathedral in a local seaside town. The reason for being outside so early on a Saturday morning? I was waiting to attend the sixth Vintage kilo sale I’ve been to in the last three months.
This has become some what of a a hobby of mine. There has been a number of companies running these events and I’ve jumped on the vintage band wagon and been lucky enough to have the time to go along to a few. I’ll elaborate a bit further how this event works, but first a bit of background to why I was here.
What got me into them you may be wondering? Well, I’ve become rather tired of being pedaled fast fashion, like it’s well, going out of fashion. I’m not impressed with high street and online retailers who make such cheap clothes. The ethical nature of these brands leave a lot to be desired in my mind. Now, I’m not of the wealth to be shopping with brands who do try and be more caring with their manufacturing processes, but there is an alternative to buying so much new clothes that contributes to the ever growing cotton industry that is polluting our world.
And that brings me to another reason why I’m becoming more anti-High Street. Did you know the manufacturing of a large quantity of cotton products, in particular fashion garments, is responsible for the drying up of a large lake?
The Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was once a lake, that once supplied a local community with a fishing industry. The lake also helped regulate the surrounding weather system. Now thanks to the production of cotton garments that use ten’s of thousands of gallons of water to make, this lake is now a desert. You can literally drive across what was once full of water and is now cracked and dried earth.
The fish are gone and with it the lively hoods of the local people. Elders sit and stare out to what used to be a shimmering pool of water with fishing boats bobbing along on the waters surface. Now all they see is the parched land. This is such a big subject and by disclaimer, I am no expect on the subject, just someone who is passionate about what they buy and how it’s made.
And it’s shameless and saddening. To really get an idea of what is happening, watch Stacey Dooley’s documentary ‘Fashions Dirty Secret’. Have a watch of a clip from the documentary here.
So with this in mind, when I saw a vintage clothes event being held in Brighton (see my previous post on it here), I went along to see if this was a more sustainable and ethical way to update my wardrobe.
I discovered not only that it is, but it’s also fun! Each event has different items, so you never know what you’ll stumble across. The companies that run these event’s get new stock in the tonnes all the time, so don’t fret you’ll only see the same items each time you go.
The 90’s is having a bit of a resurgence with the younger generation (which I find quite interesting as it’s clothes I remember from my teenage years) but there’s normally 80’s and even some 70’s thrown in. I’ve seen some item’s circa 2000’s too.
I do love a shopping haul video, but please do not get me started on Primark hauls. I can’t abide these. The hauls I prefer are thrift hauls. The one’s in America, where the Youtuber goes to a GoodWill for example and comes back with an armful of great finds and bargains. Over here in the UK, such a haul can’t always be easily achieved. Our thrift, or charity shops are somewhat on the smaller and modest size. So I’ve discovered Vintage kilo sales fill this gap in our market.
Rails and rails of preloved items are displayed in a venue all marked at a kilo for £15 (coats and larger heavier items are priced capped at £15 each). To give you an idea of what an kilo can get you, normally you can get a t-shirt, jeans and perhaps a sweat top for a kilo.
These event’s tend to have an ‘Early Bird’ ticket. You pay in advance to be let in and get first dibs on what is put out on the rails before it’s open to the general public. Some sales ask for the cost of the first kilo up front for an early bird ticket and that includes the entry price too.
When you enter the sale, head to the section that interests you the most first would be my tip. It could be sports tops, it could be Levis, it could be fur coats or if you’re like me and interested in hand bags, then head over to the accessories. As you never know what will be on the rails, it’s worth getting in there as soon as you can, to grab any items you want before someone else does.
I’ve so far not seen any squabbles over an item as there’s so much to choose from. The staff at these events fill up the rails with even more stock as it sells through, so don’t worry if you don’t get to the sale till later in the day. You might find just what you’re after even if it’s near closing time.
These sales can attract quite a lot of people (in the hundreds in some), so it can be like bee’s to honey on a good section (say on the Levis section) with customers rummaging through the jammed packed rails. So patience is key when looking through the rails.
The vintage sale I happen to be at on this brisk November morning was my first time at a Worth the Weight sale. I expected it would be a similar set up to the Preloved Kilo sales, so I came with my black tote bag in tow to carry any purchases back with.
After having my Early Bird ticket scanned in (I was in fact the first person there by a good 20 minutes) I headed into the venue, which was a lovely Catherdral in Portsmouth. I was given the standard clear plastic bag to put any purchases in and headed straight to a table with hand bags laid out on.
I’m curating a collection of vintage hand bags with the aim to sell on my yet to be launched Etsy shop. I’ve for many years had a thing for hand bags. Even as a teenager I would purchase a new bag from the local market (‘£3.99 any bag, any holdall’ a regular chant from the market seller). I’ve now come to value the quality of a good hand bag. Preferably made from leather, to ensure it’s made of good standard material and has durability. I’ve found vintage sales are a great place to pick these up at a really affordable price. I’ve collected around 15 or so hand bags now. Which I just need to get listed on my shop. I’ll keep you posted when I do.
At the Worth the Weight sale I was pleasantly pleased to see there was three sections with hand bags. As much as I rate the Preloved sales, this one had a lot more which excited me. I never expect to find any real designer brands when going through the hand bags. The companies that run these sales go through and check each item, so my suspicion is any gem of an item is taken out and auctioned or sold on for a higher price. That said I have found some bags by designers who may not be known of now, but with some research (hello Google), they were more popular back in it’s hey day and still hold some value.
Once I scoped out the hand bag section, I moved onto the garments. The rails were each sign posted with what it contained (for example skirts, jumpers, maxi dresses etc). There was even a rail of 90’s/00’s Burberry and Ralph Lauren. By the pay points was a selection of sun glasses, pin badges and iron on patches. Great for customizing a denim jacket if you brought one. But watch out as these are not sold by weight, but sold separately (but still super affordable).
I have found I have about an hour of attention at these events, then I start to lose focus. So around 11am, after browsing the rails for an hour I headed to the pay point. This involves placing your clear plastic bag of items into a plastic basket on a set of scales, where your bag is weighed. The weight is per 0.75 kg. With my total coming to just shy of £45. That’s £30 for two kilos of items and a coat for £15.
When I go to these event’s, as I’m more focused on the hand bags, any clothes I buy are more impulsive. But I try to buy what fits me (trying on is a must if your not sure, as there’s no returns policy) to ensure it’s something I will wear. Anything that I later decide not to keep I put for sale on my Depop page (depop.com/abbiechic. Again another way I shop second hand is using Depop).
At this Worth the Weight sale I got 3 hand bags, a leather mini skirt from Zara, a woolen checked coat in perfect condition and a t-shirt I spotted for my Dad. A way to be savvy with your money and the weight of items, is to pick up such items like scarves, belts and hats, which don’t weigh as much. That way you can get the most for your money.
A word of warning, don’t get too carried away if you have to carry this back home with you. If you have a car, then fill up to your hearts (and wallets) content, but if you are getting public transport like me (I got the train), you might find yourself lugging a rather heavy bag back with you!
What I loved about the Worth the Weight sale is that there was friendly staff on hand to keep things tidied and topped up and to serve and assist when paying. This is a customer facing business, so customer service is paramount, second hand items or not. There was also lot’s of variety of products. Even Ugg boots (admittedly a little worn but still a really affordable way to get a pair). You can pretty much get a whole outfit from trousers, to tops to coats, to footwear and accessories. And it’s giving a new lease of life to preloved clothes whilst creating your own individual look. At a great price. What’s not to love!
It was definitely worth the wait on a cold November day to be at this vintage event.
Here is a link to Worth the Weights detail of future events.
Also here are Preloved Kilo’s future dates.
And if your near Worthing in West Sussex, check out To Be Worn Again’s Warehouse kilo sales.
Until next time,
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