Recycling & Zero Waste Week - Vintage & Upcycled Clothing

What is vintage clothing if not recycled? Reusing and upcycling clothes is big business as well as good for the planet, and our lil ol' town is full of textile warriors!

What comes to mind when you hear 'vintage clothes'? Stylish? Funky? Original? All fair adjectives, but perhaps you don't immediately think that by buying vintage clothes you are actually doing the planet a favour as well as your wardrobe. Because, of course, what is vintage if not simply recycled clothing? 

Every year an estimated 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK and over 5% of the UK’s total annual carbon and water footprints result from clothing consumption. Choosing to buy preloved or upcycled clothing rather than new, cheap goods that may only last us a season is just one of the conscious choices we can make that will reduce our impact on the environment.

And Colchester makes it easy to do so! Our very own Secret Vintage World holds regular fairs and events, where a plethora of vintage clothes options gather from around the region - there are three planned for the rest of this year, including the next on May 26th.

Local business Style Autopsy offers completely upcycled clothing - lots of very cool denim pieces, but also everything from hair accessories to jumpers. Completely original and super stylish.


And if your closet is bulging then there are lots of options for getting rid of clothing ethically - there are charity shops, of course, Colchester Freegle and the brilliantly fun Community - Frock Swap! which runs once a season at the Arts Centre.

But if you can't wait to get your recycled clothing fix, then this Sunday, after you've been to Colchester's first ever Recycling & Zero Waste Expo at Firstsite, then head to Charter Hall for another Colchester first - the Preloved Vintage Kilo!

We talked to Preloved's Jess to find out more:

  • Tell us a little about PreLoved Kilo - where did the idea come from?

We’ve been in the vintage business for a very long time. Starting out at small local fairs we then just accumulated more stock and eventually became wholesalers. We had a lot of requests to take our stock nationwide to sell by the kilo so that’s exactly what we did and now we visit 2 different cities every weekend.  

  • What are the highs/lows?

It can be long weekends and the travelling can get quite gruelling. But if we ever have a weekend off we’re never really sure what to do with ourselves! We love seeing new cities and each one is so different so it’s always something new for us. 

  • How come you're coming to Colchester? (And how come you haven't been before?!)

We had so many requests to come along to Colchester and it was only when we were approached by Charter Hall that we thought we had to get some dates booked in. We can’t wait!  

  • What can we expect from the event?

TONNES of clothing, of course! We bring along nearly 10 tonnes of stock and had a team replenishing the rails all day long. Our events are always buzzing and it’s a shopping experience like no other. 

  • What would your message to the good people of Colchester be?

Spread the word! Our events are always a lot of fun and no matter what your favourite era we have the stock especially. 

  • Would you be able to offer our cardholders a small discount, free gift or exclusive competition?

We’d be happy to offer a discounted entry of £1 to your cardholders :) 

So there you have it, Colcestrians! That's your Sunday sorted - lots of tips and tricks to help you reduce, repair, reuse and recycle at the Expo and then clothes shopping with a conscience! Boom! You're welcome!