The joys of second-hand shopping: Mancunian Vintage explores Greater Manchester’s burgeoning scene

By Helen Le Caplain, Mancunian Vintage

Manchester boasts a thriving vintage scene crammed with shops, events and people to rival that even of our esteemed capital.

The city’s Northern Quarter is the spiritual home of a huge range of vintage shops, tearooms and the eclectic emporium Afflecks.

However vintage culture isn’t just kept in one bohemian area, instead this burgeoning scene is now flourishing across Greater Manchester into Altrincham, Saddleworth and Stockport.

The inaugural Vintage Manchester Awards 2012 showcased just a small proportion of the vintage businesses, fairs, performers, designers, venues, bloggers and photographers that are out there.

In this column I’ll give you an insight into what’s on in the Greater Manchester vintage community and the people, events and businesses you can’t afford to miss.

Mancunian Vintage

I love rooting for clothes and unearthing treasures from a heap of dreary clothes in a charity shop, jumble sale or vintage fair.

I find there is so much more choice in terms of colour, styles and fabrics than you would find on the high street.

There are of course some things I won’t compromise on (I’m thinking underwear and swimwear) but in most cases there’s no harm trying clothes on and seeing how they look.

So without further ado, let’s delve a little into the world of vintage.

Doesn’t vintage just mean old?

There are various schools of thought about what vintage technically is.

Most people interchange the word ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ when talking about second-hand clothing.

But the distinction is generally thought to be that vintage dates from the 1920s-1980s, with later clothing being classed as retro.

If you’re lucky enough to own something earlier than the 1920s, then we’re looking at an antique.

Personally if someone describes something as vintage from the early 90s, I’m not going to jump down their throat about it, but something that does irk me is when high street chains advertise items in their range as ‘vintage’.

That polka dot tea dress with lace detailing at the collar may be vintage-inspired but it sure as heck isn’t vintage.

Even if it has been hanging on the sale rail for more than two weeks…

Why buy second-hand when I can buy new?

Some people have a real issue with wearing pre-owned clothes.

Perhaps it’s the perception of being poor, the smell, or the nagging thought that someone may have died in what you’ve just bought.

But when it comes to these issues I really don’t care what people think.

Not all second-hand clothes smell and if they do it’s nothing that a quick spin in the washing machine or a spritz of vodka (on the garment, not down my throat!) can’t sort out.

And the possibility of someone dying in that perfect outfit? It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Doing your bit

We’re all more than happy to sort out our plastic from our tins and papers and pop them in the recycling box, so why not do the same with clothing?

According to WRAP, a government agency which promotes reducing waste, a whopping 500,000 tonnes of clothing is dumped in UK 

This has huge social and environmental implications, not only does it produce C02 and other harmful emissions, but it also means that charities and those in need lose out.landfills each year.

So by buying second-hand not only are you getting the pick of the fashion crop, but you’re also doing your bit for society.

Who knew that shopping and philanthropy could go hand-in-hand?

You can find an extensive range of vintage posts at Mancunian Vintage.

Make sure you check out Mancunian Vintage’s Facebook and Twitter page: @manc_vintage 

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

Pictures courtesy of Mancunian Vintage, with thanks

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