Vintaging in Berlin

Before coming to Berlin, vintaging or buying thrift store clothing was not an option for me. In Pakistan, there is a lot of judgement and ridicule for people who so much so as lay their pinky on second hand clothes. Considering the poverty levels of the country, people like to stand apart from the masses by showing off their designer labels and looking as expensive as possible. There is little value seen by Pakistani women in finding a unique one-off piece from another time with its edges slightly worn out picked up from a junkyard sale.

However, a Pakistani woman will treat a snazzy off the shelf Louis Vuitton bag like God. What makes designer clothing for these women even more appealing is the fact that since there are barely any high end designer clothing stores in Pakistan, women have to bring their designer goodies from their travel abroad. So wearing designer clothing not only proves you’re rich in Pakistani society, it also proves you’re well-travelled.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t and never will be able to even afford the welcome mat outside LV. But fortunately for my sake, I’ve found out that I feel no shame in wearing second hand clothing at all. In fact, I love my clothing, just like I like my boys, with a fair bit of history.

And Berlin is pretty much second hand clothing paradise. Everwhere I turn, I find plenty of kooky flea markets and kitschy vintage boutiques. So if you’re broke in Berlin, fashion joints like Colours, flea markets at Treptower park and Mauerpark will help you stretch your every euro until it bleeds and asks for forgiveness.

Here are some tips and lessons I’ve learnt from my vintaging in Berlin.

1. Vintaging is like the girl-version of hunting, except you get to wear it around your neck all the time. It’s also less bloody and cruelty free, so yea me! And just like hunting, for good vintaging you have to stalk your prey for hours, take your time, rummage until you hit a piece that makes you want to run away with it, get married wearing it and have a few babies in it.

2. While vintaging listen to good music. Preferably from the icon you are trying to emulate or the era you want to capture with your clothing. If you listen to some Faces and The Who, it will immediately send you back to the 60s and help you pick out some amazing Mod pieces.

3. Don’t go vintaging just to pick the most normal-est looking pieces you can find! Look for unique patterns and crazy prints. If you come back with anything less than a reindeer sweater that even you’re grandfather wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, you’re not vintaging right!

4. Take care of the ick factor. Once you’ve bought your goodies, I cant stress enough – “Dry clean, hand wash, machine wash” until you’re sure that the clothes you”re wearing won”t leave you purple with hives.

5. Factor in extra costs. You’re hardly ever going to find pieces that fit you perfectly so taking it to tailor or drycleaning silk pieces is going to add to the final price.

5. Have an image in mind. I usually take with me a colour pallete that inspires me and then instead of buying individual pieces, I concentrating on building one entire look. Once I go home, I match it with some highstreet stuff and find out that more than 5 looks can be created with one article of clothing.

6. Feel goood about yourself. In a world running towards wastage and excessive consumerism, you’re actually choosing the most eco friendly way of shopping.

7. When old people look at you funny take that as a compliment and realise you’re becoming a vintaging expert!

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