It’s no secret that I loves me some vintage. I’ve been buying it since I was 16 from boutiques and charity shops, but in all this time I’d never ventured to a kilo sale (you buy clothing by weight rather than price per item). Until now, that is.
When I heard that Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale was coming back to the People’s History Museum in Manchester, I thought I’d take the chance to see what it’s all about. Buying vintage in bulk is a bit of a new concept, and one that is often only available to trade customers, but it means you can get about 4 items in a kilo for £15; an opportunity to grab a bargain straight from the wholesalers.
It’s cheap! At roughly £4 a piece, you can get a piece of vintage without the boutique price tag. So, you get more for your money.
All the usual vintage goodness – you’re bound to find something unique and a little bit special if you’re prepared to hunt for it.
It’s (organised) chaos! I arrived at the very start of the public opening (registered traders were allowed in an hour before) and it was pretty busy, but within 20 minutes the queue was out the door and pieces of clothing were flying before my eyes. There is definitely no time for leisurely browsing. But hats off to the Vintage Kilo staff who run a very tight ship.
Measure your expectations. If you’re looking for high grade vintage from the 50s/60s or anything made not from polyester, this probably isn’t the place for you. This is mainly deadstock and recycled clothing from the 70s, 80s and sometimes 90s. I spotted a lot of damaged stock and things that needed work so expect at the least to need to give everything a good wash and get your needle and thread out.
Kilo sale tips
Ok, so I’ve only been to one, but here’s what I learnt.
Arrive early (or late) – Stock is replenished throughout the day, so you’re always going to miss something but timing your visit to the quietest times will give you a fighting chance of uncovering some gems when there’s a bit less competition.
Travel light – I regretted taking my giant bag and duffle coat with me, things can get pretty hot in there!
Be polite – It can get a little bit competitive at times as people jostle to find the best bargains, but it’s important not to lose your manners.
Keep an eye out – As well as rails to rifle through there are huge buckets full of clothes. It helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for, e.g. woolies, floral dresses, or key colours. This makes it easier to spot things in the sea of fabric.
Act quick – If you think you want something, grab it. As long as you snap things up, you can always put them back later.
Check before you buy – Like I said, stock can be damaged (though often not beyond repair) so make sure you know what you’re in for before you buy or you could end up disappointed once you get home.
One last look – Someone picked up something I liked right before my eyes, but she’d discarded it later and I managed to pick it up, so it’s always worth taking a second glance.
Sooooo, what did I get?
I managed to pick up a seven pieces for £30, a couple of which are good to wear now and some that I’m going to have lots of fun fixing up and reworking. I’ll hopefully show you the results on the blog soon.
Would I do it again? To be honest, it’s not my favourite way to shop, but it was an experience and I’m glad I tried it out. If you like finding unusual fabrics and don’t mind DIYing your wardrobe, then it can be a great/cheap place to source clothes.
Have you ever been to a kilo sale? What did you think?
Apologies for the blurry iPhone pics. Turns out I can’t hunt for vintage, carry a huge bag and take decent pictures at the same time!