Team Patchwork love nothing more than a Sunday morning wander around a boot fair, a Saturday afternoon rummage through a charity, vintage or antique shop and a bit of late night (drunk) shopping on ebay. Finding second hand treasures is just so good for so many reasons. Here are our top seven:
Old things are more original
Want to avoid turning up to a party, wedding or Bar Mitzvah in the same dress as someone else? Swap the high street and go vintage. If you want your living room to look less, well, MADE, go vintage. If you want to buy a really unique football shirt, handbag or kid’s bike, go vintage.
Old things are made better
If you want to buy affordable furniture, clothes or toys that are handmade using quality materials and real craftsmanship, opt for second hand products made before 1960 – when mass produced consumer goods really took off. The fact that mid-century fashion and furniture continue to be so desirable is not just because the design stands the test of time but because the quality of the product and manufacture do too – even 60 years later.
Old things are cheaper
It’s not that beautifully designed, handmade, quality products made by non-sweatshop labour aren’t made today. There are tons of brilliant craft brands making great products in Britain and beyond. But they are rightly an investment to make and therefore cost a lot. While beautifully made secondhand and vintage items (excluding serious antiques) are generally much cheaper.
Old things have history
We love buying a vintage dress and imagining the designer at Dior, the seamstress in Dagenham or the teenager who choose the pattern and the fabric and whipped it up for the weekend. We love feeling the grain on an antique sideboard, admiring the joinery on vintage dressing table or finding a forgotten note in an old chest of drawers. Old things have a real (or imagined) history. Handed down, swapped or sold, each new owner gives things new life and meaning. We become part of the story and that’s just nice somehow.
Old things are environmentally friendly
We’ve reached peak stuff. And when it’s the president of IKEA saying this we know it’s really serious. If you love shopping and want nice things that are new to you, the best way to consume with a conscience is to buy old things. That way you’re not contributing to consumer demand and you’re not using our precious planet’s finite resources to create new things, or the plastic packaging they invariably come in. You’re just getting joy from something that’s already in existence.
Old things contribute to the local economy
Whilst most new consumer goods are increasingly provided by a smaller number of dominant (and often dodgy) global corporations, when you buy something second hand, vintage or antique, you’re generally giving your money directly to a real person or small business. Whether via a virtual peer-to-peer marketplace like ebay or Gumtree, or a real world market, shop or auction house it’s a transaction that generally goes directly into a real person’s pocket. So buying second hand is often a nice way to shop local too.
Old things make you stop and chat
Although not always the case, the final thing we love about buying old things is that you so often get not just a sense of history but you get to meet new people and hear their stories too. Maybe we’re just nosy but we love that whether you’re picking up an old sink from ebay, buying a piece of art from a posh antique shop or a second hand toy from Deptford market, you get a chance to stop and chat to a stranger who will generally have something more interesting to say than the self-service machine in Sainsbury’s.