Some call it the second-hand generation, some the Depop generation, whatever you may call it, it’s Generation Z we are talking about. Gen Z is today’s young generation, all the way up to those who turn 24 this year. And if you walk into a vintage store, second-hand shop, or market, chances are if you bump into someone, it will be a Gen Zer strolling about in some old Levis mom jeans.
But why is it that this generation is suddenly so obsessed with vintage clothes?
Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable change in this generation’s attitude towards clothes. Even though we live – or maybe especially because we live – in a highly consumerist world, this generation shifts increasingly from buying fast-fashion towards second-hand clothes.
Second-hand clothes are becoming more and more popular among Gen Zs, increasing the sales of vintage stores, kilo sales, and online second-hand websites such as Depop or Vinted.
Thrifting clothes is normal now and shows that this generation perceives buying and wearing clothes that are already used as normal. This popularity and hunt for unique vintage clothing has even become a billion-dollar industry, changing the fashion industry and turning it on its head. A lot of Gen Zers have even involved themselves in the resale business selling their old clothes online.
Second-hand clothes can still be cheap and accessible for everyone but nowadays it gets increasingly expensive to buy a vintage Adidas Jacket. Yet it seems like Gen Z is more than willing than any other generation to pay the price for getting some fashionable second-hand clothes.
Source: Teen Vogue
One could argue that there are many reasons why these young generations not only prefer, but have actually popularised, the use of second-hand clothes. Besides the fact that young people are usually more experimental with styles and open to new trends, the desire to be different from the previous generations plays a role.
Another important thing to note, is that as a society, we have become more conscious of environmental sustainability and the need to change our behaviour in order to reduce the negative environmental impact of our lifestyle. Therefore, buying Second-hand clothes is also a choice this generation makes in order to protest fast fashion, and to make their fashion choices more sustainable.
Social media has also been key in influencing and feeding Gen Z’s obsession with second-hand clothes. Thrift hauls and look books are boosting the hype of this generation on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as well as contributing to setting trends.
Will this trend last? Or will the novelty of vintage clothes wear off once the next generation of youngsters takes the baton and decides that what’s new is actually what’s unique? Only time will tell we guess…
But for now, we are all here for this second-hand, recycling, upcycling moment in the fashion industry.