Monday, 15 December 2008

Old clothes cool in Poland

A striking piece of writing in The New York Times ("In Poland, Style Comes Used and by the Pound") describes the fashion market in Poland, where the latest fashion is second-hand clothes. It seems that the affluent young sector of the market is now so confident of its ability to buy new clothing that it has at last taken to wearing old clothes.

Right: how old is old? Will the clothes of the '60s ever return?

The Tomitex second-hand store, on Nowowiejska Street, downtown Warsaw, is the place where it's all happening, it seems. The article states:
"... One boutique for the latest new styles, aptly named Luxury & Liberty, has opened in the former headquarters of the governing Polish United Workers’ Party, which also previously housed the Warsaw Stock Exchange since the end of Communism".
Fashion designer Ania Kuczynska adds that, after socialism, consumers placed a great emphasis on labels and logos, to prove that their clothes were new and expensive. A willingness to embrace used clothes signals a new maturity in a city finding its way in fashion:
"It’s just the next step in our reality, in our growing economy. The times are changing".
Fashionista recalls the Nineties, when the best way to dispose of last season's European fashions was to export them to Bulgaria (which was then outside the European Union) with a note to the effect that the buyer could do whatever he wanted with them so long as they never came back. Now it seems there may be some mileage in wearing them a bit, warehousing them and then exporting them to countries where 'old' is the new 'new'.