Vintage clothes are still very present

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At the Bodements vintage online store, it takes less than 20 minutes for a shirt to sell out after it’s put on, signaling the constant rise of “old fashion”.

This was not always the case, however. When stylist Divya Saini launched the store two years ago, vintage shopping in India was largely unknown. Making sales was tough, but Saini didn’t give up. She had recognized the gap in the market after returning from a trip to Paris, with bags full of clothes designed between the 1960s and 1990s, and wanted to create a niche in the fashion market in India. “Well times have changed now; people are more aware. A major explosion occurred during the pandemic, ”she insists.

This is indeed true. Between 2018 and 2021, the luxury second-hand market grew 9% faster than the total luxury goods market, according to a report by Tagwalk, a fashion search engine. As the global conversation about waste and sustainability in the fashion industry intensified over the past year, vintage shopping has become a responsible alternative.

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Corsets, poufs and lace blouses began to appear on the streets, on social networks and on the catwalks. In the spring / summer 2021 collections, disco, balloon sleeves and romance emerged as the hottest trends, presented by Christian Dior and Valentino. Retro styles continued to influence the fall / winter collections, with pastel colors and flowing dresses.

Los Angeles-based designer Vidur Adlakha has sifted through the clothing shelves at vintage fairs, looking for inspiration for his brand new La Fuori collection. Taking inspiration from Victorian silhouettes, it features ruffled dresses and exaggerated sleeves. He thinks Victorian designs can be a breath of fresh air, especially in times of upheaval. Also by the 1970s, where most of today’s vintage clothing is inspired, a wave of Victorian and Edwardian nostalgia for the countryside swept through America during the Vietnam War. “These trends became popular because women wanted to be lighter, feminine, attractive and free. Sometimes a little romantic drama can bring a lot of joy and ease into your life, ”he says.

A similar romanticism permeates Gauri and Nainika’s latest collection. Known for their floral work and iconic ruffles, the designer duo have always admired 19th century European fashion.

From the latest collection of Gauri and Nainika
(Courtesy of Gauri and Nainika)


“It’s so inspiring because there are so many details in the clothes. You will always find something new that you can make your own interpretation of,” says designer Nainika Karan. Since the pandemic, she has observed an increase in demand for bulky calves. “They offer the drama of formal wear without making you look overdressed for small gatherings,” she explains. When the designers showcased their collection at Lakme Fashion Week in March, audiences took to Bridgerton fashion tour.

The series has indeed played a role in further fueling demand for 19th-century-inspired fashion. After its release in India in December, designer Pallavi Singhee’s Verb label saw sales increase by around 30%. Her buyers demanded large sleeves, low square collars and empire lines. “One of our largest retailers in the US contacted us saying it was the trend of the season and we need to pick it up again next month. We could feel the pulse, ”she said.

A piece from the Verb label by designer Pallavi Singhee

A piece from the Verb label by designer Pallavi Singhee
(Courtesy verb)


In March, data shows Google searches for “corset” increased more than at any time in the past five years. While the original corsets tightened the female body, their modern interpretation frees it. “They make you feel sexy and confident,” says Preeti Yadav, 24, who started Panda Picked, an Instagram second-hand store that sells corsets and bustiers. In the space of a year, she has accumulated 37,400 subscribers and the last of her corsets is sold out. “People are crazy about second hand clothes. It’s a competition now, ”she said.

Part of the charm of vintage clothing, says Saini, is that it has a lot more to offer than mass-produced ones. “It gives you the opportunity to explore and express your own individuality. Each piece is unique and cannot be copied. You don’t see someone else wearing the same thing as you, ”she says. Even though the aesthetics of vintage culture cast a shadow over its essence, it is certain that part of the population, albeit small, reflected on its consumption habits and realized: “There is already so many clothes that exist in the world. Why do we have to buy new? “


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