Let’s do…sustainable fashion and shop vintage

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Written byNina Hely-Hutchinson

Lately vintage fashion has been emerging as an obvious element in the push towards sustainability. In some people’s minds, wearing vintage is about dressing from head to toe in a particular era, and there is much fun to be had in that at the Goodwood Festival, or indeed events at our own Severn Valley Railway. It’s also easy though, to incorporate into your everyday style — a pair of vintage Levis, a classic 1980s silk shirt, or a vintage silk scarf.

As a penniless, but discerning (or fussy) teenager, I noticed that vintage pieces were often better made, better cut and better fabric than the modern pieces I could afford. Basically, I always found that vintage was great value for money.


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And, it seems, more people are realising it if the trend of up cycling and thrifting by the younger generation is anything to go by. The luxury end of the second-hand and vintage market has been growing rapidly in the last few years. This is particularly so in designer handbags, which can add a lot of style to an outfit. Another great plus is they can also be seen as an investment, with some of the rarest bags worth more than the new.

Young people are leading the trend in shopping for vintage as conscious consumers. Sustainability and recycling are important to them, as a matter of quality (happy to find often well-made clothes at a good price), and fighting climate change with the great by-product of showcasing their own individual style. It also helps to having something unique that friends will envy and, likely won’t be able to copy!

The perks of being a trendsetter

As soon as 55 mill street re-opened after lockdown, customers flooded in for clothing. For those who love fashion, there is no substitute for looking at clothes, feeling their texture and trying them on in real life.

During the lockdowns, vintage fairs have been very good about mounting virtual events on Instagram. I have participated in them, and while I enjoyed them, I missed the personal interaction, and I think that’s the same for the customers. There’s nothing like seeing the pleasure people get from finding the perfect piece. This is heightened by the fact that there is only one of anything, which makes it a really special experience.


Vintage is a great way to put your individual style into trends. Every year there are distinct trends that can be related directly back to a particular vintage style or era. For example, currently, everywhere you look, in magazines or social media, women are wearing floaty floral long dresses. This is a style very popular in the 1970s, and so many versions can be found in vintage shops and fairs. Fashion designers have also sought inspiration from past eras, and are often to be found at vintage dealers’ shops, studios and fair stands, looking for ideas for their next collections

Easy-on-the-pocket pieces and high end

In our shop, we try to carry vintage at all price points. A rare designer piece from the 70s such as Ossie Clark or Janice Wainright, or a beautiful bias cut 30s dress will be more expensive, but vintage jeans, jumpers, jackets and coats are accessible to all, including the young. Those of us who are older don’t want to look as if we have raided the dressing-up box, but a beautifully cut 1940s or 50s jacket or coat is timeless, as is a Japanese kimono put on over plain trousers and a top.

If you want to dip your toe into vintage, you could try a vintage silk scarf, or some distinctive costume jewellery. Jewellery can range from delicate 1930s beads to colourful 1940s bakelite bangles to signed 1980s big earrings.

Once you have the taste for vintage, you’ll never buy anything new again – and you’ll be doing our planet a favour too!

55millstreet is an antiques store with curated fashion and lifestyle pieces in the heart of Ludlow, for opening hours or more information contact them here

You can also find them on social media: Instagram or Facebook

Nina also has her own personal Instagram account, Nina Vintage Fashion Co


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