Painted Bird Vintage Boutique Blog

'New' Clothing Revelations

This might come as a revelation

At Painted Bird Vintage we aspire to be part of evolving the conversation around vintage and preloved clothing for the better. Our intention is to remove misconceptions wherever we can.

If you aren't quite sold yet on the merits and delights of wearing vintage, retro or second-hand, or, know someone who is still on the fence about taking the plunge – read on..

It might be a personal gamechanger!

Did you know some 'newly made' clothing stores condone retail staff to wear (or model depending on perception) items that are available to purchase?

I was recently reminded about this when out shopping with a client who was horrified when I brought it to her attention. No need to divulge the store name but suffice to say this is not the first or, the only store in which this occurs.

A number of my peers in the fashion industry concur that it’s an unspoken and known 'perk' for working in some clothing stores that’s certainly never advertised.

Yes vintage, preloved, or second-hand (unless the item is deadstock) obviously may have been tried on or worn over the years since it was originally created. But sales assistants wearing garments all day long for their shift and then putting them back on the rack for you to purchase. Hmmm, did you know that?

My overall point is ... Is this still a ‘new’ garment now?

Something to consider right!

With this knowledge:

  • Do you consider vintage, preloved or second-hand to be the same as new-from-new clothing other than the fact it may have been worn a few times more?
  • Do you think, perhaps now, when you shop you will consider this fact that it may have been worn already in-store before purchasing? 
  • Do you think your perspective on new, vintage, retro, preloved or second-hand will change now regardless of garment age?

Perhaps the next time you enjoy trying on a garment in-store and consciously make your decision in the fitting room whether to purchase or not; you will now reflect on my musing in a new light?

I hope so anyway.

Painted Bird Vintage

Let’s delve deeper…

Is it time to consider a freshly laundered or dry-cleaned item from a vintage or recycled clothing store (that may or, may not have tried on) to be the same as a new garment?

‘New-from-new’ fashion stores invest significantly to entice you to get the newest, latest, seasonal fad or trend.

By comparison vintage and preloved stores often can’t compete with those budgets so we look for innovative ways to bring you to the 'good' side.

This levelling of a playing field could be one of the helping hands we need to sway any 'nay sayers' in the tide for change in re-wear!

Charity stores are not included specifically in this conversation or topic. Unlike vintage store stock like at Painted Bird, the charity store donations are not laundered prior to being offered for sale. It would not be cost effective for donations to be washed when they are received.

This is one of the many, many reasons that vintage, preloved or second-hand, and thrift are all completely different types of offerings. Thinking in terms of quality, origins, labels, fabrics, product age, as well as the respect and care given to each piece.

These widely known choices should never be 'lumped' together as one type of fashion option. They are many and varied nuances between them all. Laundering your stock just happens to be one costly choice to bear in mind that does contribute to the differing price points.

Another factor to consider when looking to buy new-from new clothing…

Perhaps you might think that re-loved clothing is missing that crisp ‘new feeling’? That is because vintage and retro are likely no longer coated in horrendous chemicals.

There can be a gentle softness to re-loved clothing. It is important to change mindsets because ultimately your experience of each garment is on a physical and hopefully emotive level … new to you.

What are six interesting 'finishing chemicals' that are used to get that crisp 'new clothes feel' and smell?

- Pesticides in cotton offer toxins linked to major health concerns in humans including respiratory problems and even cancer. Cotton isn't always 'all that' as a fabric when it comes to water consumption and pesticides.

- Azo dyes (those bold bright colours think current barbie-core pinks) have a carcinogenic nature when they break down and are banned in the EU. They are water-soluble, so it is easy for your skin to absorb and may result in skin and eye irritations.

- Phthalates that are often used in activewear and sportswear as well as in decorative printing to create logos or accessories are known endocrine disrupters. They have been found to be linked to hormone disruption and are cancerous.

- Chromium in leather goods like belts, shoes, handbags, clothing. Watch the WaterBear documentary 'Slay' (free to sign up and watch). Highly likely they have been treated with chromium salts during the tanning process that can cause respiratory problems and rashes.

- Formaldehyde (yes, that is embalming liquid). It is just one of the those 'crispy feeling clothes' chemicals and can offer some individuals an experience of: headaches, sore throats, watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. This chemical is a carcinogen which means it can cause cancer.

Who knew wearing newly made clothes might give you cancer?

According to a ‘Good On You’ article written by Ally Bootsma, Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, "a slightly wrinkled piece of clothing is better than one smothered in chemicals."

We at Painted Bird Vintage agree. Worn, soft, loved vintage hits that safe fashion mark every time.

Painted Bird Vintage Boutique

So let’s reflect…

Those fresh new mall or high street store garments might have been worn already in store for the day by another and put back for you to find and purchase. Will you still consider it 'new'?

Is that 'new' garment now, in your mind a 'second-hand' or new-to-you garment since technically it has been worn? Just like a charity or thrift store it hasn't been washed - just put back on the rail for sale.

As for the chemicals we listed still imbued in the fabric of newly made clothes, that should be enough to be a gamechanger too!

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