Old is the new new. Minn Yap speaks with local vintage store Bestdays Vintage on their mission to care for the environment, the community and tackle mental health issues by selling timeless fashion.
Vintage clothing are pieces made from between twenty to a hundred years ago, reflecting the styles and trends of the era they originally came from. With weekly pre-lockdown trips to Bestdays Vintage, as well as online shopping, vintage shopping has become my wallet’s vice this year and my flatmate’s as well. As of writing this, I own nine vintage clothing, three from Bestdays, and with the majority of Fred’s also being from Bestdays.
Sitting on 40 Eld Ln and smack in the middle of Colchester town, Bestdays Vintage is a small but cosy store and café.
Steve is the director of Bestdays Vintage. The store has a humble beginning: Steve and his best friend, Jez, started a vintage clothing shop after their journey as a band didn’t quite work out.
And the store has even humbler missions: ‘Look good and feel good’. Bestdays believes they go hand in hand. They’re a club that is “there for [their] people, not just selling them clothes”.
“We have been on this journey for 7 years. We discovered that many of our customers have struggled to find their place in this world. So two years ago, we focused on not only helping people dress well, but also to feel good.”
The team acknowledges that the youth today are struggling more than ever with mental health, and that’s what motivates them to get up every day and help the community.
“Pressure at home, education and society takes its toll. We have lost 2 customers through suicide, and we don’t want to lose any more.”
So Bestdays created a ‘safe space’ café. “Anyone that comes in will be listened to, not judged and helped,” Steve says, “at the end of every week, we ask each other ‘how have we helped someone this week?”
Vintage fashion has also become a good alternative to fast fashion, in which the latter is contributing to mass pollution and global warming. Vintage fashion is “sustainable, unique and on trend,” Steve says. Bestdays Vintage believes in running a business selling sustainable clothing that won’t overly affect the planet.
But what exactly is the charm of vintage fashion and why are people so drawn to it? Why do I spend at least an hour daily scrolling through websites looking out for these timeless pieces?
“Every piece of clothing has a history,” Steve comments, “and every piece has a story to tell, just like the people that wear them.”
It’s also an easy way to dress uniquely and differently from everyone else, and therefore feel good doing so. Each vintage garment is one-off as it’s no longer in mass production for the world’s consumers to grab.
Just a few weeks ago, I happily purchased a cute yellow shacket with an egg yolk on each breast and showed it off on Instagram. A friend from college messaged me excitedly about it, asking if I could help her purchase one as well. I couldn’t, because there likely won’t be another like this for sale.
It’s comparable to owning luxury goods, where only the upper class may afford. But vintage clothing is more affordable and as, or even more, exclusive. Win-win.
Simply put, vintage shopping is addictive. There’s nothing like the rush of excitement finding something special and out of production that catches your eye, nor the thrill of having to rush against time to make a decision to purchase because others are doing the same. It hits different when the parcel finally arrives at your door and you have these exclusive, sustainable pieces of clothing in your hands and hanging in your wardrobe.
Above all, wearing them makes you feel good because you will look good. “And if you feel good in your outfit, this helps to feel good about yourself”, Steve ends off with.
Check out Bestdays Vintage for more info on what they do in the ‘Why Us’ section.
Special thanks to Fred Knight for the photography. I hope you enjoyed that fat Deliveroo treat.