I’m sure, somewhere along the line a girl sporting a choker with her hair tied up with a scrunchie was putting all her high waisted denim in a bag she was going to donate to charity. Unknowingly, she was supplying the next generation with what would become highly coveted vintage denim.
Trends have a way of coming back. So often, in fact, that there’s pieces that are worth keeping instead of throwing out or giving away. Your parents’ old clothes, or things that maybe your younger self once cringed at are now items you bump into when thrifting. Whenever I find my self complimenting someone’s jumper or top, the answer is almost always “Thanks! I got it from a charity shop!”
Don’t get me wrong, some trends should really stay back in the time slot they originated (shoulder pads and neon spandex are really not my thing), but recycling clothes has become a great way of incorporating iconic styles into modern day fashion. More and more vintage pop-up shops are appearing in Cardiff, and they’re met with enthusiasm from students looking to buy something unique.
I personally have stopped frequenting the high street as much as I used to. Vintage fashion has the uniqueness appeal. I like wearing things I know people are less likely to have, and such is the case with most of my friends. This is why whenever there’s a Vintage Kilo Sale, or a vintage fashion festival like Retrofest, I tick ‘going’ on the Facebook event, and tag my friends. It’s become a bonding experience. Rummaging amongst the bargain bins for something that’s so 90s, I can still smell the Teen Spirit! (There’s also the fact I know no one else will be wearing the same item).
It’s not just vintage shops that are bringing these back though. Fanny packs have made their way to Urban Outfitters. Whilst they were once the dreaded indicator of a tourist, I now see the practicality.
I remember when skinny jeans came into fashion again, in the mid-2000s, my mum bought me a pair and I cringed at them. I was holding onto my bell bottoms for dear life. “No one’s gonna wanna wear that!” At school the next day, I was the only one with bell bottoms. Today, I don’t own a single pair. All my denim is either high-waisted or skinny and tight. Slowly, however, bell bottoms and billowing sleeves have made their way back from the 70s, to the 2000s and onto my Instagram feed. They’re things that my thirteen-year-old self denied ever wearing. My 20-year-old self, however, lusts after a vintage pair.
History is bound to repeat itself. Fashion is as old as time, and pretty much everything has been done — which is why the resurrection of trends has become something I almost rely on. Culottes were first invented in the 1700s, but today I have two pairs sitting in my closet. Granted, there’s things I’ll never revisit (again, shoulder pads). But that’s what I said to my mum when she showed me that pair of skinny jeans, so really who am I to say?
Words by Nicole Garcia