Vancouverites choose vintage shops for classic items

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Clothes on consignment hung up on racks inside The Main Exchange. Photo: Clare Hennig
Clothes on consignment hung up on racks inside The Main Exchange, located on Main and 21st Ave. Photo: Clare Hennig

Reported by Clare Hennig

Vintage items, from vinyl records to the second-hand little black dress, are becoming increasingly popular in Vancouver as buyers try to balance budget with quality, especially during the Christmas season.

Miranda Mizrahi, owner of The Main Exchange. Photo: Clare Hennig
Miranda Mizrahi, owner of The Main Exchange. Photo: Clare Hennig

Miranda Mizrahi, owner of The Main Exchange consignment shop, said vintage shopping is a growing trend because everyone wants to feel like they are purchasing something special.

“We’re just driven to wanting that one-of-a-kind piece,” Mizrahi said.

Mizrahi described the example of her last customer, a woman who had just bought a dress for an upcoming Christmas party. The customer, Mizrahi said, wanted something special to wear — that no one else at the party would be wearing — and to feel like she was getting the best quality for her money.

“Every woman wants something unique,” Mizrahi said. “I feel the same when I go into a store and I see something that I like, but there are ten of them. All of a sudden, I don’t feel like I want it anymore.”

Vintage consignment shop affordable

Karen Green, manager of Bohemia Gallery, also said that the motivating reason people come to the vintage consignment shop is because they are looking for something affordable and different from the mainstream.

“We’re not big on designer names, we’re more into bohemian than formal suits,” Green said. “They are unique pieces and our prices are low.”

Mizrahi said the growing trend of seeking vintage and used clothes fits into Vancouver’s image.

“We’re such a green city and we want to be the greenest,” she said. “I think that goes hand-in-hand with used shopping, keeping things out of the landfill by repurposing and not contributing to corporations that have cheap clothes.”

Neptoon Records, a shop that sells vinyl records and CDs on Main and 20th Ave. Photo: Clare Hennig
Neptoon Records, a shop that sells vinyl records and CDs on Main and 20th Ave. Photo: Clare Hennig

Vintage vinyls sales skyrocket

Ben Frith, manager of Neptoon Records. Photo: Clare Hennig
Ben Frith, manager of Neptoon Records. Photo: Clare Hennig

It’s not just people seeking unique apparel that appreciate vintage items.

Ben Frith, the manager at Neptoon Records, said sales of vinyl records have skyrocketed over the past couple years.

“The number of sales has really shifted a lot,” Frith said. “There is no norm or stereotype [of the kind of customer] anymore. For a long time, it was middle-aged dudes and that was it. But that stereotype is long gone.”

He said the vintage aesthetics of records is part of the appeal, alongside the desire to have a better listening experience at an affordable price.

“Quality rather than quantity is a driving force behind vintage shopping.”

 

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