2020 – damn, where do we start? And when does this stop? A wild ride it’s been, as we eclipse the 90% mark of one of the most unstable and somewhat frightening years in recent history.
We’ve dealt with a heaping helping of extreme political discourse – the search for social equity and justice, a nation completely divided. An election damn near too close to call – presenting an opportunity to unite, to right a ship that’s been surrounded by incredibly choppy waters over the past half decade. We’ve been mostly unwillingly subjected to heated discussions and debates that’ve devolved into scorched earth displays of our unhappiness, uncomfortableness, and anxiety on social media and publicly; all exacerbated by a pandemic, the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in a hair over a century.
Under extreme pressures at every turn, it’s been increasingly difficult to properly navigate these times. Many of us have been subjected to job loss and financial struggle; a heightened focus on avoiding being infected by a virus, lessened or nullified social interaction, putting undue strain on our mental health. Isolation. The want for the fishtailing and skidding to end, awaiting the tires to stop screeching and correct themselves so we can continue on our journeys. To survive, we sometimes have to just steer into the spin.
We’ve gone into a semblance of survival mode, collectively. It’s (fairly) common knowledge that climate change is very real: the effects of rampant consumerism and how the glut of excessive production has negatively impacted nature, amidst the overarching umbrella of capitalist brands continuing to strain the already faltering level of available, consumable resources to balloon their profit margins. The vast majority of brands cater only to the social platform-driven lust of flexing on others, while debt increases and likes correspond alike.
In these leaner times, it’s important for the masses to lean out their quarantine cops, focus on necessity, and creatively find ways to err on the side of sustainability. Digging through thrift racks, eBay, flea markets (in better times), and indie sellers’ marketplaces to revive previously loved threads. We’re tasked with the responsibility of evolving our personal styles by putting our own personal spin on what’s come back around – well worn denim, outerwear from bygone eras, rocked workwear. It’s cathartic in a way – re-envisioning fits that haven’t been styled in ads for decades…or never at all.
Personally, I’ve been living fairly consistent over the past decade. Instead of waiting in virtual lines on brand websites and apps to take the inevitable L on something I didn’t even need to begin with, I’m a bit more strategic. I’ve spent hours scouring eBay and other thrift/secondhand sites, one eye open and focused like a seasoned sniper, finger on the Bid button, ready to snipe a piece of history for the low. Winning bid emails are a small consolation in times like these, however, I proceed as if existing in a parallel timeline, free of the constraints we currently abide by.
Look no further than how cyclical the fashion cycle is: tie dye’s resurgence has come back full force, while those in the know clamor for worn (and loved) Carhartt, Levi’s and other rugged outerwear, giving a nod to the blue collar worker and propping up a halfhearted, more accepted version of stolen valor. Vintage band and movie promo tees are still in high demand, as their inflated pricing demonstrates. Jordan’s and Dunks from the 80’s through the oughts are being unearthed, restored, re-marketed and sold to the tasteful collector, the hypebeast or just heads in the know. The hype wave consumes.
There’s no shortage of forgotten heat out there on the market, ruled somewhat effectively by the seller. Hours of painstaking hunting, bartering, bidding, and networking can pay huge dividends, assuming a discerning eye and focused marketing approach are at the forefront. Pop up sales on Instagram are prevalent in current times – massive drops, curated ever so tastefully (and pricey as hell) perform amazingly and satiate the most voracious jawncoppers. It’s a seller’s market and a buyer’s world out there.
My preference – find old pieces, rework them into more contemporary versions of themselves, adding a hint of my personal aesthetic, and enjoy a piece of the past, tailored to fit my current vibe. The ability to give a relic a new look is a gift that shouldn’t be taken lightly. That old graphic tee you’ve been so reluctant to part with, all stained and paper thin, holy without religious affiliation can be brought back to life with the right dye job, or patching and reinforcing. Otherwise, that personality the piece already has may just be ideal to be styled however you see fit.
In times where waste is frowned upon, a revamped sense of “want not, waste not” is at the forefront and may not change for the foreseeable future. We can all do our part to lessen waste, relive glory days in vintage pieces or reshape the past into a more “now” look and feel better about doing it, without sacrificing a sense of moral responsibility and still look pretty damn good over Zoom or the Gram, while we await an end to the pandemic and a resumption of our daily lives and normalcy.
**Written while sitting in a parking lot at 6 AM on Black Friday, waiting to cop one of the most important drops of 2020 – a (hopefully and presumptively negative) COVID test.