Monday, October 15, 2012

Miss Moss ♥s Vintage & Thrift

Most people in international fashion destinations around the globe embrace second-hand stores and see the value and uniqueness in purchasing vintage items. However, in more developing/conservative countries like Panama, although there are a select few 'fashion forward' people here that love vintage, there is still somewhat of a stigma attached to the concept of buying other people's second-hand and vintage items. If only more people bought into the concept and contributed to it, there would be the opportunity to find more unique and high-end pieces at incredible prices. 
Street Pepper -
Vanessa Jackman -

Let's start with the ABC of terminology as many terms are used, as not everyone understands the differences:  

Consignment store: original owner gives second-hand items to a shop that sells them, but still holds ownership of the items until they are sold. The store pays a portion of the sale to the original owner. The items are on sale for a limited time. If the items don't sell after the specified time, the owner can claim them. If not, the store can donate them or act as she/he sees fit.

Thrift store: original owner gives second-hand items to a charitable store, which becomes the owner of the items, sells them, donates a percentage of the money to a charity and keeps the remaining percentage.

Vintage clothing: clothing from the 20's to the 60's. Clothes created after the 60's are generally considered 'modern', although in some cases 70's and 80's could also be considered 'retro'.  Stylish people curate vintage clothes and mix-and-match them with modern pieces, making an eclectic and unique mix.

As more people here in Panama embrace second-hand and vintage stores they contribute to the revolution in the vintage culture. Kitsch items can be found in these places and forgotten little treasures can impose new trends. Giving clothes to these kinds of stores increases space in your wardrobe, lets you recycle and donate clothes or receive money!

Masters of selling second hand and vintage clothing for charity, Oxfam, have a really interesting communications and marketing campaign about second-hand pieces from the 40's, 50's and 60's. Their message is clear, it is possible to be stylish, unique and socially responsible at the same time. Check out their video here:
Oxfam created "fashion stories" by combining the clothes with characters in each story. They gave life to each piece and used the music, tone of voice, everything according to the decade.
Oxfam has their own online vintage charity shop, which revolutionized the UK's online shopping platform for vintage clothing in 2010. On the other side of the Atlantic, also sells a few vintage pieces in the U.S.

For another source that could give you some good tips, go to:  We especially liked number 17!

Thrift in Panama...
The Miss Moss team interviewed Rosalind Baitel, owner of Promises, a thrift store here in San Francisco, Panama in order to get to know more about what is on offer here.
How does the selection process of items work?
"Promises accepts new and nearly new items in the following categories - Men's and Ladies event wear, name brand and designer, formal wear, executive wear, cocktail attire, accessories (purses, belts, shoes, jewelry, scarves, ties).  Items must be of current style, no stains or spots and no defects."

What do you do with overstock?
"We select items that we think we can sell in our market.  Unselected items are donated to various charities.  Items are priced, tagged and placed for sale at the listed price for 90 days.  After, they are marked down and placed on the sales rack for another 30 days.  Afterwards, they are donated."


What kind of people buy at thrift stores?
"Promises is a consignment store featuring high end and exclusive offerings.  Panama does have several "thrift stores", but we are a breed apart.  Our customers are professionals, media, diplomats, government and private sector executives and anyone who likes fashion at a great price!!!!"

If people ask for an invoice, it helps deduct taxes right? how does that work?
"Promises raises money for over 40 charitable groups in Panama.  Some of these groups have the facility to issue a tax deductible receipt to donors upon request."
Casco Flea Market in Plaza Cathedral. Photo by Avilaq

Casco Flea Market in Plaza Cathedral. Photo by Esdras Jaimes

A good way for people to get involved in the vintage culture is going to the Flea Market in Casco Viejo on select weekends. 

Miss Moss loves vintage and thrift shopping and would love to see more people in Panama embrace this stylish, fabulous way to shop and combine a sense of 'giving back' at the same time. Fashion is not just about following the latest trends and wearing the most expensive brands and labels, it is about discovery and unique expression of yourself and finding those key treasures is what we love!

A glimpse of vintage chic from London's Portobello Road in Notting Hill

Written by Leanne Moss and Laura Diaz

1 comment:

  1. Yes, according to your definition of consignment store and thrift store, Promises is a thrift store but with the connotation of being for poor people perhaps another term would be more appropriate. I've seen stores in the U.S. called, "Second Chance" or "One More Time". It is only a consignment store in the sense that they move items to sale price after one month and then donate to charity. It does have higher quality clientele than if you were donate to other organizations that accept everything and everybody shops there.

    I agree wholeheartedly with regard to donating money to charities.

    We had a store called WEAVE - Women Escaping a Violent Environment. It originally started for women who were in an abusive relationship - to help them start new with professional clothing and training to get a new job and to feel better about themselves. As we know, when you wear something that makes you feel good on the outside, then the inside starts taking notice and starts feeling better inside. It is now one of the places I go to everytime I go to Sacramento, CA.

    Just a few thoughts.