A normal Saturday for me always involves coffee, comfy shoes, and hours spent in my local thrift stores. It sounds like a typical weekend errand, but for the past year, this ritual has been strictly business, as I scour the racks looking for vintage items to add to my online vintage shop’s inventory — and I love every second of it.
Starting a vintage clothing shop had been a dream of mine for years; but it wasn’t until last year, that I slowly started to turn my hobby of buying up old vintage clothing into something profitable and bigger. I began humbly, by selling on the app Poshmark — and then a year later, I took the leap and announced my shop Mumtaz Vintage on Etsy and Instagram.
Mumtaz means “excellent” in Arabic. It represents the simple standard that I hold for myself and my shop. This is more than just a money making venture for me — it’s a way to connect with people around the world and help individuals unearth fashion pieces that allow them to feel like their best selves.
By buying vintage, my customers are able to make a difference in the following ways:
- Cuts down on waste
- Celebrates the history of a piece of clothing
- Offers a chance to explore personal style
The clothing industry has left a massive amount of waste in its wake — producing clothing quickly, but by unsustainable means. When I buy and sell vintage, I feel as if I am rescuing a piece of history. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of being an ethical and sustainable fashion choice, allowing us to respect our planet by keeping these precious items out of landfills.
For years, we’ve been fed a message that makes clothing choices seem insignificant and superficial. Trends, although fun and cute, are temporary and fast moving, thus propelling our throw-away mentality. Vintage clothing offers an alternative to velocious trends, while making a bold, unique statement.
What is more, most vintage clothing has soul — it belonged to someone else, has a history and a story to tell, about both our culture and the person who wore it.
When I buy a piece, I go home and research the brand, the designer, and the era. Sometimes I am able to find archives with old ads featuring the brands, or if it is homemade, I can retrieve comparable patterns. On rare occasions, I come across items in the pockets: a 40-year-old note, a card from a funeral home, or once, a crackling old stick of gum. These items are all a testament to the last time said garment was worn and cared for.
Not all clothes tell a happy, joyful story, but they make me wonder about the people who cared for this item of clothing, how it made them feel, or if it reminded them of a significant time or event in their lives.
When my customers buy a vintage piece, they refashion it to express their unique characters. I believe that fashion choices are a reflection of how we see and feel about our interior selves. Vintage items are one-of-a-kind and I take pride in helping men and women explore their style by mixing eras, styles, fabrics, and fits. I love the little community of buyers and sellers, because we are all passionate about this mission.
I try to encourage each person to embrace his or her personal style and tastes, and not to be ashamed to invest in how they look. It’s okay to take pride in what we wear and to honor ourselves and others by dressing well. Style can be a language that speaks of a person’s uniqueness and dignity. It’s also okay to find significance and a deeper hidden beauty in the clothing that we wear.
So the next time you’re ready to add something to your closet, consider buying a beautiful vintage item or thrifting on your own. You’ll love owning a unique piece with a story, and you can feel good about saving something beautiful from being discarded and forgotten.