What are they?
Vintage kilo sales are a new way of shopping for unused clothes. People donate their old, unused clothes to an organisation that then sells them off at the sale, pricing at the weight of each kilo. Most clothes are outdated, out of fashion or just unwanted, but with the constant change in fashion trends and the urge to live more sustainably, kilo sales are a great alternative to fast-fashion shopping.
Where to find them:
Most sales are found online through social media. A great example is Facebook, as it has loads of amazing groups that specialise in these sales and you can receive notifications for when they’re in your area. You can also find their events on the official websites or event booking websites, some good ones are: prelovedkilo and eventbrite. The groups usually have multiple sales all over the UK and tend to return to areas with a high selling rate, so if you missed one near you, chances are they’ll come back! Areas with a high student popularity are also pretty common to have these sales, so I suggest looking at events near universities.
What to expect:
For almost all vintage sales you’ll need to buy a ticket in advance. They’re pretty cheap and can be found on their Facebook or website and have different options depending on your availability, such as arriving before 9am could cost £2, whereas arriving by 1pm could cost £5. The fares are normally held in pretty big venues so it’s likely it’ll be in a cathedral, town hall, or marketplace. This is because there’s usually a big amount of clothes on sale and a lot of people viewing, so the extra space is needed. Once you get there you’ll probably have to wait in the queue for a while, this was a bigger issue during COVID but now there’s no restrictions, lines should be a little shorter, and the best part is that in big queues you can easily make friends with the other people in line! Most places won’t allow too many people in the venue at the same time, so even if you’re waiting a while, when you get inside you’ll be able to explore all the sections without being too overcrowded. This also helps the workers to restock the racks when they get too empty, providing a constant change in things you can buy.
What do they sell:
Vintage kilo sales sell a pretty wide variety of things and almost all are from years and decades ago. Popularly sold items at these events are old jeans and denim, which is good for new trends, but even better as denim from the 70’s and 80’s was made a lot stronger and versatile compared to denim made today. Another big seller are fun shirts, which are super popular in these events and are great for adding a pop of colour to your outfit and designing your fashion to fit you, but make sure you’re quick because they sell out fast! Sweatshirts and tracksuit bottoms are another high seller, they’re both great for any time of the year and if you’re lucky enough to find a matching pair, make sure you get it as they’re hard to find! There’s also a lot of dresses for sale at these events, however finding one that is fashionable, fits perfectly, and is a comfortable fabric is hard to find, so if you’re familiar with crafting I suggest buying dresses for the fabric then cutting and sewing them to your desire; this is a great way to use up old fabric to make something completely new. However, it’s not just clothing these fairs sell, they also provide a variety of accessories. Bags are a popular seller, as they come in so many different styles and you can get some good quality leather bags too. I know a lot of people don’t agree with buying new leather but feel that as old leather is already made, it shouldn’t go to waste. There’s also a range of shoes, which is perfect if you get a good quality pair in your size, however they’re pretty hit-or-miss and a fair amount of shoes are worn beyond repair. Jewellery is a big seller too as a lot of it is handmade by the vendors themselves, so it’s nice to buy something from the person who made it. Also, sunglasses are common to find in the same area so you can pick out jewellery and sunglasses that fit together. Finally, there’s typically a basket of scarves and mismatched fabric that is perfect if you want to style and create your own pieces.
Photo: Brixton vintage kilo sale
How much does it cost:
The pricing all depends on how much the items weigh. Typically, when you get to the venue they’ll give you a giant plastic bag that you put all your items in as you go round shopping, then when you get to the till they’ll weigh the bag and calculate how much it’ll cost based on the weight. Each kilogram costs £15, and the more kilograms it weighs, the higher the price. For example, you can buy one heavy item such as a leather jacket and pay around £15, or buy a few lighter items such as a couple shirts, a dress, and a skirt for the same price. They’re such good pricing and are totally fair, so the weighing doesn’t trick you into paying more, what’s even better is that some places have scales around the venue, so you can check how much your items weigh before you go to the checkout. However, different companies have different policies, and I’ve seen places charge £20 per kilo and others £10, so to avoid confusion, research before you go!
Although it’ll come naturally, here are some personal tips that might help in the sale. If you’re planning to try clothes on, wear something skin-tight, this will make it easier when slipping in and out of things, especially jeans and tracksuit bottoms, as there’s not usually any changing rooms. Going with a friend is a good option too as you can compare clothes, find ones for each other, and decide if the clothes suit you, as mirrors are unlikely to be there. Finally, wash your clothes! Even if they’re washed before getting to the sale, they’ve still been touched and tried on by many people and it’s best to give them a deep clean before wearing them yourself!
Thanks for reading, and good luck at your first vintage kilo sale!
Mia is an editorial writer for Film and Television, with interests in music and social media.