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How To Survive a Vintage Kilo Sale

Posted by SJP Oxfam Fashion blogger

12th Nov 2013

What are vintage kilo sales like?

Consumers are becoming more and more thrifty when it comes to shopping for their clothes. 'Charity shop chic', 'vintage' and 'shwopping' are common words in the ethically conscious shopper's lexicon.

But one form of clothes shopping you may be unfamiliar with is kilo sales. Popular with market traders and owners of vintage boutiques, kilo sales work by you selecting garments you want and paying for the lot by weight rather than individually.

There are textile recycling plants in most cities and large towns that offer this service to traders and sometimes members of the public, and vintage fairs around the country are starting to roll out their own versions in town halls and event spaces.

If you find a one-day flash kilo sale in your neighbourhood there are a few tricks and tips I've picked up that may come in handy…

Get there early

If you're going to a public event arrive early, as the best stock is often put out at the start of the day. At dedicated recycling centre's stock will be coming in all the time, and often sorted in front of your eyes, so you'll have to book a time to come in. While this is less of a frenzy than a public event it still pays to be on time so you don't miss the best goods.

Travel light

You'll be given a large plastic sack or carrier bag to put your finds into so opt for a small backpack or an across body satchel for your personal belongings - handbags sitting in the crook of your elbow could get in the way as you rummage the rails.

Dress sensibly

Kilo sales are like a stripped back version of a vintage fair, and won't always have dedicated changing rooms or mirrors. Wear separates that you can slip in and out of easily in case you want to try something on while you're there - chances are you'll have to do so in view of everyone else!

Use your elbows

Violence is not what I'm suggesting here, but you do need to be assertive as everyone else is out for a bargain, too. If you see an item you like, approach the rail and take it off quickly. Stand your ground and take time to look through each rail or bin, but try to avoid getting in the way of other bargain hunters.

Be realistic

One kilo will probably get you around 3-4 summer dresses, or a winter coat. The price you pay per kilo will be set by those running the sale but it's always worth negotiating on heavier items such as coats, as sometimes the cost per kilo can be negotiated down.

Bring cash

Larger operations will have card machines but it pays to take cash too as it's easier to barter with and could also act as your spending limit - it's far easier to spend more money when it's going on plastic.

Those are my tips for getting the most out of kilo sales. Have you ever been to one and if so, what tips of your own do you have? 

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Blog post written by SJP

Oxfam Fashion blogger

More by SJP