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This year, put some vintage under the tree

For fashion enthusiasts and beyond

This year, put some vintage under the tree For fashion enthusiasts and beyond

For the generation that came before the Millennials, the Christmas gifting etiquette (or gifting etiquette in general) was quite rigid and precise: always a surprise, always of more or less average price, always something new. The biggest taboo was not only recycled gifts, which remain a taboo today, but also vintage and secondhand items. Secondhand, in fact, is a category historically abhorred by Gen X: wearing someone else's discarded clothes, no matter how luxurious, was a sign of impoverishment, not pride—both for social reasons and for various hygienic and identity-related quirks. «Something old that I don't know where it's been? No thanks,» everyone seems to say in unison, preferring to spend more money rather than wear or gift an item that once belonged to someone else. Generations, however, change, and so do considerations about gifts. A recent report by Klarna, titled the Holiday Report, identifies a significant shift in trends: «As 69% of Italians say that the overall increase in prices will impact how they shop during the holidays, it's not surprising that consumers are looking for tricks and tips to make the most of their budget. In addition to buying fewer items (41%) and looking for affordable items (40%), many of them dive into DIY and secondhand shopping. [...] 24% of the 18-26 age group and 22% of the 27-42 age group will opt for secondhand items, suggesting a change in consumer shopping habits.»

Also, according to a study by the Wallapop platform cited by Repubblica, 60% of Italians are considering a secondhand gift, with a predominance of the younger age group between 25 and 34 years old, with 71% intending to purchase secondhand for their Christmas. Of those surveyed on the issue, «32% emphasize the possibility of finding unique items, while 29% mention economic savings.» But an interesting point highlighted by the survey is that this secondhand, which is discussed, does not concern clothing but books, appliances, and smartphones. Nevertheless, according to a 2022 report from the Second Hand Economy Observatory, commissioned by Subito from Bva Doxa, clothing and accessories are the top-selling and purchased online products, with percentages standing at 36% and 34% respectively. Now, maybe the two studies differ in scope, purpose, and time period considered, but if, for the sake of argument, we deemed them both valid, we could suppose that clothing is the most sold and purchased category but less gifted: in other words, the taboo of secondhand gifts has waned, but there is still some resistance to giving used clothing to others, preferring to buy it for oneself. Let's be clear; this is pure speculation.

Shifting from Italian to foreign data, the scenario changes. According to Barron’s, the Dow Jones & Co. weekly, the resell platform The RealReal «says orders with gift boxes are up 24% from the beginning of November to mid-December, compared with the same period last year. Gift card purchases are also up more than 20% in the same period». Adding that «items from brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermés have been the most popular gifts on the RealReal this year» according to Rati Sahi Levesque, co-CEO and president of the company. According to a similar report from the Student Beans association, «80% of US and UK Gen Zers will consider shopping second hand for gifts» and that «69% of UK respondents and 65% of US respondents want fashion items». Second on the list are beauty items, followed by technology and video games. Similar data, mutatis mutandis, comes from Canada as reported by Bloomberg.

@austin_lowen this is a REALISTIC thriftable holiday gift guide (who knows what you may find though) #thrift #giftguide #christmas #fashion #mensfashion #thriftedfashion #thrifted Lo-fi hip hop - NAO-K
What emerges? With the appropriate margin of error resulting from the comparison of these disparate studies, it is observed that even Gen Z, in Italy, is willing to give secondhand gifts to a lesser extent than their counterparts overseas but also to buy safer categories, such as books and tech—which, as gifts, have a less physically intimate nature than a garment worn on one's skin. Upon closer inspection, the culture of archival fashion and the search for specific pieces from specific collections have less traction in Italy than elsewhere. Another report, this one from Stylight, indeed tells us that «40% of Millennials use these [secondhand fashion] platforms to optimize the availability of fashion items and accessories across tens of online shops, compared to 26% of Gen Z.» while the percentages of actual buyers are equivalent, with a negligible difference of 5%, between the two age groups. This leads to the question of whether Italian Gen Z is also less fashion-savvy than their English-speaking counterparts, even with often lower budgets, usually under €100: generally, if secondhand clothing is purchased, it is aimed at luxury or signed items in some way—no one would give a secondhand Zara sweater for Christmas. Ancient gift taboos, like all taboos, are overcome one step at a time—even if the step is that of a snail.