Flowing out of the DJ decks were smooth, melodic sounds of contemporary R&B. Immediately after the warehouse doors opened, people representing many walks of life, dressed in the latest trends, throwback garms and armed with duffle and tote bags, crept in like a trail of ants. My first look around the warehouse was overwhelming. Filmed clothing rails were lined up against every wall, and already eagle-eyed shoppers were picking out eye-catching pieces to take home to their wardrobe. But, unlike usual shops, this event was solely stocking vintage clothes.
Founded in 2009, the Vintage Kilo Sale is the U.K.’s first-ever purchase by weight vintage shopping event. Throughout the year, they host events in 35 different cities and towns, bringing eight tonnes of good quality vintage clothing from the 1970s to the early 2000s to each sale. For the bargain price of £15 per kilo of clothing, and with no minimum spend, you could walk away spending as little as 50 pence on a light item.
The Vintage Kilo Sale hosted two London events held in empty spaces and warehouses in Shoreditch on Saturday, Jan. 17, and the other in Bethnal Green on Sunday, January 18. I attended the Shoreditch sale, and spent £26 on two windbreakers, two jumpers and two t-shirts, while my friend only spent £25 on two windbreakers, one sweater, a polo shirt and a t-shirt, as well as £15 on sunglasses and accessories. Accessories like necklaces, watches, sunglasses and earrings, are not sold by weight like clothes, but instead have fixed and relatively cheap prices, which range between £5-10 per item.
Gaining admission to the sale is easy, as you can buy either buy tickets in advance or pay on the door. There are a limited number of Super Earlybird tickets, which guarantee early admission at 10 a.m. and are available for purchase on the Vintage Kilo Sale Facebook and Instagram pages for £3.25. Earlybird access for 11 a.m. costs £3 on the door, and general admission at 12 p.m. costs £1.50.
Although the new stock is added to the racks throughout the day, I would recommend booking SuperEarlybird tickets in advance or arriving early enough to buy the first Earlybird tickets, because the line grows extremely fast and new people can only be admitted when customers start leaving the sale to regulate space and crowds inside the building. On Saturday, I spent barely any time in line, but when I left the building, the line was going down the street and around the corner.
Apple Pay, credit cards, and cash are the only accepted methods of payment, and, although bags are available for purchase for 25 pence, they encourage customers to bring a bag for sustainable reasons.
Sustainability is another amazing factor of the Vintage Kilo Sale as they provide you with the opportunity to give a new life to thousands of pre-owned clothes, which are in fantastic condition. Even though it seems like a lot of fashion trends are new crazes, fashion is cyclical, and what was worn in the past is always coming back.
Another thing about the Vintage Kilo Sale was that they had a changing area with mirrors where you can try on clothes before you buy anything. This was a great addition because there was usually only one of each item of clothing, and items cannot be returned.
There were also weighing stations throughout the venue, so if the price was important to a customer, the clothes could be weighed before queuing for the till.
Before actually entering the sale, I think I unfairly anticipated how trendy the clothes would be, because where I expected ’90s aesthetic tops and cool styles of pants, there were mainly bomber jackets and vintage college sweaters. Although this isn’t necessarily bad, I would advise going into any vintage sale with an open mind because you never know what you might see.
I managed to find some pieces I really liked and were definitely my style, but it took over an hour of searching. I even ignored some of the racks because I could tell it wasn’t my style, especially the ’70s clothing.
Any kilo sale is an excellent value for money, and the Vintage Kilo Sale is no exception. It was a well-executed and planned out event, with a variety of styles of clothing. There won’t be any more London events by this particular group until March 1 in Camden (tickets are available here). However, there are many other organizers of vintage clothing sales such as Preloved Kilo and Worth the Weight Vintage.