This vintage clothing trend is taking Instagram by storm

The way we view fashion is shifting, both IRL and online. Case in point: Instagram has seen a 36% increase in interest in eco-friendly buying, from 2021 to 2022, even though we're only a couple months into the new year.

Data shows an uptake in up-cycling and thrifting as Gen Z re-think their carbon footprint and look for more unique pieces, with nearly half of teens and young adults saying they are looking to sell their own items through a thrifting website.

Another huge trend on Instagram is vintage fashion, with users looking to influencers for their expertise and tips on how to overhaul their wardrobes the right way.

Kavita, a full-time thrift content creator with 57k followers on Instagram, shares her insights, as well as who to follow and which vintage stores to buy from.

Q: Have you seen more people become interested in vintage fashion? What are the questions that you get asked the most?

A: Vintage fashion has become increasingly popular in the past years, and I have definitely seen a growth in my social media followers as I started featuring it more and more, especially through Instagram Reels. I’m mostly seeing that people are looking for where to buy second-hand clothing, so I try to be as informative as possible with the content I create, helping my followers find the best towns with vintage or thrift shops, what to look out for and which brands are good for vintage. I love to help people learn more about how they can differentiate when a specific material is vintage and share tips on the brands to look out for, such as M&S St Michael, how to know if an item is vintage and pay attention to the aesthetic and materials a specific piece is made of. 

Q: Do you think it is important that people know/learn more about vintage and thrifted fashion and why?

A: It’s important that people know what they’re buying at all times. When it comes to thrift and vintage, you might find it challenging at first to discover the brands specifically dedicated to slow fashion. A lot of people also tend to ask me “Should I buy fast fashion if it’s second-hand?” and the answer is “Yes”. There’s nothing wrong with buying fast fashion from second-hand shops. The trick is to learn how you can make little changes to these clothes – for example, changing the buttons and fixing the zips so they don’t go to waste. Repairing clothes, rather than getting rid of them, is key.

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Q: How are you currently using IG and what features are you finding useful, e.g. Reels/Stories? How is the app helping you connect with your followers?

A: Instagram Stories is the best place to engage with my community - it's very quick and interactive. It allows my followers to get involved with the latest trends I’m posting about, stay on top of what I’m up to, and engage through polls, quizzes, and questions. I love using a question box, it helps build stronger relationships with my audience. My audience’s favourite thing is something I call ‘Thrift or Miss’ – a series that I started on Instagram where I go to thrift and charity shops in real time, take pictures of the items I choose to buy and poll my followers asking them ‘Yes or No’. People love this because it’s like they come shopping with me, helping me decide which item to buy or which outfit looks the best. People get incredibly excited because it’s like going thrift shopping with your best friends, something lots of people have missed due to the pandemic and the social disconnection it has caused.

Q: What is your community most interested to hear about? What sort of content do you find they connect with best?

A: My followers love to interact with me through Instagram Reels as well. ‘Come thrifting with me’ is another content series I use to show where I am shopping. It offers a behind the scenes look of where to find the best thrifted treasures, what items to pick up or how to choose these unique outfits in a specific town or city. I also share styling content called ‘Styling my Thrift or Miss’ through Instagram Reels. This is based on the polls I run with my community to reveal the items they may or may not like depending on my buys. I then provide them with inspiration on how they can style their look – it is the interactive element of Reels that allows for more creativity when styling a vintage look for example. In fact, it is a great way to challenge people’s perception on what looks good on a hanger versus when it’s styled. That’s a really important part of thrifting – you have to have a bit of vision!

Q: How did you get into vintage/thrift fashion and what do you find is unique about it?

A: I got into second-hand fashion when I was younger – I come from a family of ‘thrifters’. A lot of people back in the day used to go car-booting in Chesterfield, and I would go with my family. At first, pre-loved shopping was primarily out of necessity, but as I grew older, I just fell in love with vintage as a style. Vintage fashion not only inspires me to be more creative and makes my wardrobe sustainable, but it also allows me to be unique and dress completely differently to everybody else. With second-hand and vintage clothes, it's very hard to be able to replicate someone else’s outfit when you've thrifted it all, but that’s where creativity comes in.

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Q: Who are your favourite second-hand/vintage inspirations, e.g. any other creators/celebrities? 

A: For more second-hand, vintage and sustainable fashion inspiration, here is a list of my go-to creators on Instagram:

  • lucyjanefashion - based in Manchester, Lucy loves charity shops as much as I do! You can find lots of Reels to help you with styling and charity shop finds for that Y2k look.
  • andreacheong_ – Andrea’s Mindful Mondays will help you find the quality materials that are made to last and always manages to find a designer gem.
  • demi colleen – Demi’s “dopamine dressing” is amazing and she loves to shop second-hand. You can also find inspiration for styling and sustainable skin care too! She is also one to check out if you’re a fan of brights.
  • chloe helen miles – Chloe from Brighton is a sustainable fashion and slow living creator. She shares staple pieces predominantly in neutral palettes. If you’re looking for that perfect longline blazer, Chloe is the creator for you.
  • ngoni – Ngoni owns her own sustainable clothing line and also loves to wear pre-loved clothing - especially if it comes from her Mum’s wardrobe!
  • venetialamanna – Venetia is a fair fashion campaigner based in London. You can find lots of information on sustainable fashion and second-hand styling tips.
  • ajabarber – An inspiring sustainable fashion educator, Aja is a writer, stylist and consultant whose work focuses on the intersection of sustainability and fashion. 
  • The_rogue_essentials – Heidi, based in London, is an incredible ethical fashion expert who is on a mission to educate her community on the importance of shopping with more of a conscience.

Where do you look for the thrifted/vintage items and inspiration to share with your community? Do you find these items online, for example on IG, or in offline shops, or both?

A: If you’re looking for inspiration for thrifted/vintage items, here’s my advice on how to find it:

Dive into your favourite Instagram creator’s styles – Look out for the items that your favourite creators are wearing and thrift their looks. You can do that by checking out on eBay or vintage online shops such as Depop. There are also many vintage creators who sell on Instagram to discover, so you can easily find out if your item is up for grabs or what’s coming in through the posts they share.

While shopping offline – If you’re thrifting in person be sure to look for the best places in town which offer the latest vintage picks and know what item you’re after.

Q: What are the must-follow vintage/thrift shops in the UK that you’d recommend people to check out on IG and why?

A: My recommendation for the vintage/thrift shops that people should check out on Instagram are:

  • Selena’s Shop – If you’re looking for color, texture and print combined in glamorous ‘70s-centric edits, this Sheffield-based vintage shop is the go-to.
  • Slow Vintage – This vintage shop in Brighton is a perfect choice for anyone looking for sustainable fashion options and doing more considerate purchases.
  • Mini’s World – Looking for affordable vintage gems? This sustainable clothing brand will inspire your shopping with an arsenal of exclusive pieces and bargains.
  • Fairygorlvintage – Check out this online vintage shop for cherry picked sustainable and ethical fashion looks and Y2K vibes.
  • NOSTALGIA by Erika For some inspiring seasonal drops, Erika curates and sells vintage and preloved garments handpicked with love.
Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.