Buy Vintage In Lieu Of Something New: A Conversation Around Sustainable Fashion
Buy vintage in lieu of something new — a memorable mantra that has stayed with us after our conversation with friend + A9 reader, Hannah Jane. She started Lieu Vintage after learning about the fashion industry’s contribution to climate change and the global waste crisis. Her monthly drops feature unique finds from some of her favourite cities, with items selling out in a matter of minutes. Recently, her pledge to only buying vintage caught the attention of Vogue [yes, you read that right]. It’s safe to say, she’s stumbled upon a genius concept. With a cunning eye + a drive for justice x change, it seems there isn’t much stopping HJ from leaving a mark on this world for the better. Her perspective + voice is one that inspires us to shift our gaze toward sustainability and leave this world in a better place than we found it. We hope you enjoy this dialogue as much as we did. . .
Aisle 9: Tell us about Lieu Vintage + the intention behind the brand?
Hannah Jane: Lieu Vintage is a vintage clothing company that curates formal vintage pieces specifically from the 1960s and 1970s. I started it after learning about the fashion industry’s contribution to climate change and the global waste crisis. I also found that vintage usually looks quite dated and I only source pieces that look contemporary and approachable to people who do not typically wear vintage. For over a decade, I have spent my weekends sifting through dusty closets and scouring the internet to find feminine, high-end vintage pieces and decided to share. I want people to buy vintage in lieu of something new, because fast fashion is a drag on people and our planet.
A9: What initially attracted you to shopping vintage x second hand?
HJ: Vintage is more interesting to look at than new clothes. The colors, the tailoring, and the texture are all exquisite. Pieces also carry stories with them. I get excited when I hear about the person who owned the piece before me and feel honored when I get to make new memories in them.
A9: What do you seek out when sourcing pieces?
HJ: Quality! I make sure the piece is in great condition. I also just buy what I love and try to avoid buying pieces that I just think will “sell.” I am less concerned whether it has a flashy label and more drawn to unique, feminine pieces.
A9: Your favourite era to curate x collect. . .
HJ: I absolutely love the late 1960s. The hemlines were getting shorter, the texture was bold, and designers were experimenting with new ideas and structures. I think about Pierre Cardin, Brigitte Bardot, and Eddie Sedgwick. I am drawn to pink, tulle, gingham, and ruffles which sounds a lot more camp than I mean. It’s usually understated and mixed with basics. My favorite stylist is Leith Clark [think Felicity Jones and Lucy Boynton].
A9: Where are your ideal spots for sourcing vintage x unique garments?
HJ: People who sell vintage are very secretive about where they source, so I do my best to be transparent. I find pieces everywhere from Round Top Antique Fair in Texas, Etsy, Ebay, my grandmother’s closet, estate sales, to thrift stores off the side of the road. My taste and time is what people are paying for, which is what I like to remind myself. I do not have access to clothes that other people do not have access to, people can go out and find this stuff. However, I have found that they do not have time nor know what they are looking for — that is where Lieu comes in! I put an average of 2 hours into finding one piece.
A9: Mind sharing your current sources of inspiration?
A9: What did you discover about yourself the first year that you challenged yourself to not buy anything new?
HJ: There were a few reasons I decided to not buy anything new in 2019. There was a part of me that was just curious to see if I could do it. I also found myself shopping online or going to a clothing shop when I was feeling unfulfilled and I wanted to curb that unhelpful [+ expensive] habit. I also knew it was kinder to our planet to just consume less. And lastly, I found that vintage and second-hand clothes were more interesting to look at. My closet became a lot more colorful and textured. In short, it was a little of everything that influenced my decision.
It was also a lot easier than I expected. The first couple of months, I still had the reflex to shop, but after that, it tapered off. I started borrowing more clothes, rewearing old pieces I thought I had retired, and finding the best second-hand stores in the cities I was visiting. It took more energy, but it was not difficult.
Curious what you can do today to shop more sustainably? Lieu Vintage has become a source for us, not only for inspiration, but also accessibility for steps we can take today to make a positive environmental impact. Hot tips:
Buy less. Avoid the online shopping binge.
Buy second hand. If you exhaust your thrift stores, try your girlfriends’ closets.
Shop at sustainable clothing companies. Be wary of greenwashing.
Demand transparency from companies. Ask questions about production practices before you check-out.
Repair your clothes. Cue the sewing kits.
For more reasons to buy vintage, click away.
More About Hannah Jane: In her role as the State Director of Environment Colorado, it’s no shock that Hannah Jane is well equipped to speak to the actions needed in order to save our planet. In her time there, she has worked with people across Colorado to ensure protection for the land, water, air, and health through helping pass environmental policies. When she’s not curating a vintage wardrobe or saving the planet [literally], you’ll find her spending time with her sisters, perched up to a good book, and cuddling with her pup, “Professor.” Something you may not know about her, is she hopes to do a trek in every South American country [with Chile and Peru most recently crossed off]. Follow along with her on IG here.