Vintage: Fashion without guilty Conscience

Sales assistent sells a item in a vintage shop infront of used coats out of fur.

“A blouse, a pair of jeans and a dress: That makes 1,2 kilos, please.” What sounds weird is reality at the Vintage per Kilo Market in Brussels. A kilo clothes costs less than 20 euros here.

Young women with colourful coats and men with plaid shirts were chatting which each other. A lot of them were carrying their own jute bags and were wearing John Lennon inspired glasses. They all had been waiting for more than 20 minutes but the mood was still good. It was Sunday morning and the people were queueing in a row to get into the Horta Gallery in Brussels. On October 27th took there the Vintage Kilo Market place. A monthly event which is organized by Brussels Vintage Market and Vintage per Kilo Belgium.

Second-hand is trend

It was busy inside the hall. Many people were jostling between the clothes racks with items from the last half century. A few girls were fighting for the best pieces. The crowd for the monthly vintage sale is always huge. Even if it is not the only option for inexpensive second-hand clothes in Belgium. Far from it: In Brussels one vintage store follows the next one. Especially the district Dansaert is well-known for its broad offer of second-hand shops. And unlike in Berlin or London, where you pay as much or even more money for used clothes than for new ones, are the prices in Belgium (still) very low.

Especially young people are interested in a sustainable option for fashion – Photo: Rebecca Gahr

And this can hardly be the case because of the little demand. The trend to wear used clothes has definitely arrived in Brussels. Wherever you look you see people in vintage clothes. The organizers of the Vintage for Kilo Market have an explanation for this trend, “Vintage fashion allows us to literally touch epochs that we would have loved to know. Second-hand goods take on an important place in our daily lives as they offer a direct response to our environmental and economic concerns.” And the organizers take their own words seriously. Bringing your own bag to the markets is necessary. They do not sell plastic bags.

Vintage: Affordable Sustainability

“We want to help people to integrate sustainability in their daily lives,” said Emma Lareu, one of the employees at the market while she was trying to put the clothes back in order. This is also the reason for them to keep their prices low. “A lot of people know that it is important to change our consumer behaviour. But especially for the youth it is sometimes hard to afford sustainably produced fashion,” so Lareu. Second Hand is the answer for these problems. The organizers get most of the products for free or very cheap from private flea markets or house dissolutions. This is the reason why they can keep their prices that low.

Vintage hats are sold at a fleamarket.
Vintage hats are sold at a fleamarket.

In the Horta Gallery it was hard to imagine that all of the clothes were used and partially more than 50 years old. All pieces looked like new. The best ones were sold after a few minutes. But the employees were constantly bringing new clothes from the warehouse. At 5 pm it was finally time for all vintage lovers to leave. Most of them left with bags full of clothes and all of them without guilty conscience.

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