Slide from Label Networks’ Fashion Presentation

Even though the recession has been officially announced, global youth culture markets from East London, back streets of Harajuku, Silverlake in LA, Copenhagen, and Brooklyn were on the thrift/vintage trend for the last few years. What’s interesting however, are the new creative borrowed styles from old eras that when mixed and matched, are turning out some progressive ideas, i.e. nu rave’s take from the ’80’s and more recently the resurgence of futuristic grunge.

In the United States, new old looks mean that streetwear or urbanwear is not only taking pieces from the ’80’s, but also mixing it up with old-school classic authentic brands such as Pendleton, Woolrich, Red Wing, Clark’s, and Carhartt. Textures have become important with the rise of plaids, tartans, and mix of metallic spandex with a flannel shirt, for example. High-waisted denim has been on the move from this movement, taken from a throwback to the ’70’s Charlie Angeles days but now, even re-invented with many denim brands producing high-waisted silhouettes in their recent collections. For the first time, thrift/vintage and the rise of the re-scene scensters is inspiring designers instead of the other way around. And the more the economy sinks, the more you’re going to see this reversal of trends.

The inspiration however comes not only from being able to buy things on the cheap, but the freedom to combine old eras that provide a backstory to your DIY fashion sensibility. Ask the re-scene scensters and they’ll tell you exactly where and why they have chosen a specific scarf combined with plaids or vintage tennis dresses with tube socks and ’80’s moon boots. Many boutiques not only carry designer ready-to-wear these days, but also throw in found pieces from vintage or thrift stores that the owners have found themselves. (You even see this in savvy sportswear boutiques with old CB down vests and classic, bright color-block vintage ski jackets.) It allows for more diversity, the ability to live in parts from different eras, and create something that’s even more DIY than perhaps the original era it came from because most young people combine such pieces with something contemporary, i.e. an American Apparel piece.

International Re-Scene Scensters
In the United States according to our data measuring favorite store type preferences for shopping, thrift/vintage surpassed preferences for shopping in Wal-Mart/Target last Fall 2007, and is still more popular despite some interesting Target campaigns and their growing Designer Collection series this year. Thrift/Vintage is also twice as high in terms of preferences among females than males, marking out a fresh new opportunity for reaching fashionable young women, but it has components of being post-gender as more guys are picking up thrifted trends as well.

In East London, Brick Lane has become an urban bohemian paradise of thrift finds. Secondhand shops such as Grand Ofr, Beyond Retro, Rokit, Absolute Vintage Blondie, Burt & Mary, and Sam Greenberg are favorites for this growing subculture.

In our last visit to the backstreets of Harajuku, places like Heatwave Harry’s carried the lo-fi vintage looks of lumberjack reds but layered with artistic graphic T’s to make it more contemporary. In Japan for example, they’ve moved retro patterns into new meanings and provided their own twist whereby flannel shirts are truly an accessory to be worn tied around your waist.

Thrift/Vintage brings new life to old eras and there’s something completely fun about that. Youth culture markets tend to look for new things, even if it’s to be found in old places, and for the re-scene scensters movement, such thrifted fashion is an affordable answer during challenging times.