Vintage makes its comeback By Bella Ferak and Elissa Eaton

Just a few years ago, no one would even consider wearing old clothes that had gone out of style. Those dated t-shirts, jeans, or sweaters sat in the bottom of dressers and the back of closets, collecting dust. But now, vintage clothing is resurfacing as a fashionable trend, especially among teenagers and young adults. Most commonly known as thrifting, teenagers with a buzz for vintage clothing are purchasing second-hand clothes first sewn decades ago.

On Oct. 30, the annual Illinois VintageFest took place in New Lenox, IL. Vintage clothing store vendors in the surrounding area set up tents and pop-ups to let attendees peruse through old-school styles that they have to offer. Shayne Kelly, an organizer of Vintage Fest and owner of Prison City Vintage in Crest Hill, detailed why the new surge in vintage shopping may have started.

“First of all, it’s unique, and not many people have things that certain people have. I think that’s what sets it apart,” Kelley said.

Thrifting has risen in popularity over the years. More teenagers are getting into unique vintage styles that can only be found second-hand. Kinni Blackburn, the owner of Fox Den Goods in Oshkosh Wisconsin and a vendor at VintageFest, noted the benefits, especially the sustainability.

“I definitely have noticed more and more young kids picking up on wearing vintage [clothing] and being more thrifty, rather than shopping at Shein [an online clothing store]. It’s really cool to see people get on board with something so much more sustainable,” Blackburn said.

Photo by Bella Ferak

Although the fest was about 40 minutes away from Naperville, many Naperville North students attended to catch a glimpse of over 100 vendors selling clothing, CDs, posters, sports cards and more. Cait Conroy, a junior at NNHS, was among the many shoppers who visited the fest. Conroy detailed how vintage clothing is taking her generation by storm.

“I think a lot of people have seen [vintage clothing] on social media, and like everything else, it became a positive trend. Teens are looking for a way to express themselves, and vintage clothing gives teens a way to look for something that sparks their interests instead of just wearing other trendy clothes,” Conroy said.

Another notable aspect of VintageFest was the amount of small businesses run by young vendors. Izzy Lim, a junior at North who attended Vintage Fest, talked about the event’s entrepreneurial aspect.

“What I found really intriguing was how many high school aged vendors were selling items including handmade jewelry, knit clothing, stickers and art. Seeing people my age as entrepreneurs and hearing them speak so passionately about their products was especially inspiring,” Lim said.

Photo by Bella Ferak

Vintage wear is trending for good reason. The clothing is popular because of more than just its sustainability or its newfound trend. Kelly, among many others, expressed that the charm of these items also lies in the unique self-expression that the style allows.

“There’s a lot of sentimental value to some things, and it’s great that we can all come here and just share it with each other,” Kelly said. “People are able to get something --whether it be affordable or not-- to just show out and show who they are.”
A vendor at Vintage Fest