At BULK we think connections are key. Sourcing the best vintage from around the world is an essential part of what we do and we think the history behind second hand clothing is just as exciting as uncovering a unique vintage gem. Getting to see how things work in factories and warehouses abroad whilst meeting those in the industry gives us priceless insight into the background of vintage clothing. Because we can't get around much at the moment, we thought it'd be be fun to get you prepped for when we can and give you a heads up on where's hot for all things second hand.
On our most recent visit to Naples we saw and heard first hand how the thriving thrift industry began and why Italy has become one of the most impressive places to source pre-loved garments in the game.
Why is Naples great for thrifting?
During our visit we heard about how what is now considered 'vintage' found it's way onto the streets of Naples in particular. In an effort to rebuild much of Europe after WW2, the USA sent financial aid and relief in the form of used clothing. As bales of clothing landed in Napoli, civilians snapped up as much as they could, with many items being sold on to the black market. Vendors then sold the contents of the bales and gained a reputation for sorting and selling used clothing at markets (which could be considered a small thrift stall!). This played a vital role in the up-cycling movement and in turn thrifting which is still a massive part of the used clothing industry today. We love knowing that the clothing that comes through our warehouses at BULK has journeyed across the world and nothing beats rummaging through a pile of vintage stuff, finding something you'd never be able to find on the high street. You're guaranteed to find some amazing vintage pieces over in Naples regardless of your style. From authentic branded clothing to genuine 20th century vintage there really is something for everyone.
What makes thrifting great wherever you are?
Both market stall and in-store thrifting not only gives used clothing a second chance, it also gives you the chance to find something you won't find easily anywhere else. Thrifting culture is one we are really passionate about at BULK and we love that we can find something with links to a place we've visited whilst contributing to less waste. Amongst all the love we have for vintage clothing, it's important that our customers know why we're so passionate about it.
Fast fashion is an absolute environmental nightmare and creates huge negative socio-economic issues. High street clothing is often cheaply made by people across the world, meaning those who make it are usually paid abysmally. Clothes are then shipped thousands of miles and sold for very little to keep up with the fast pace of the fashion industry and are discarded by consumers without a thought as to where the clothes will end up. Buying second hand is a great way to help combat this problem whilst getting your mitts on some really cool stuff. Up-cycling and repurposing is a really big part of our ethos, it's something we demonstrate in our sister company Rockerfella where we transform grade B high end vintage destined for landfill into new one of a kind products.
What can I expect to find in Naples?
That's simple, the history speaks for itself! The sheer variety of clothing from around the world makes it a great place for unearthing unique vintage finds. There is great mix of European and American vintage in circulation throughout Naples and Italy's thriving fashion industry post war era means high end Italian fashion frequents the pre-loved clothing industry there. Whether you spend a day at Poggioreale Market or find one of the many vintage clothing stores there, it's hard not to become overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the sheer amount going on.
Markets in Naples are a daily occurrence so there are loads to choose from. Whether it's a car boot market like Portobello Road or a traditional indoor/outdoor market like Fuorigrotta, you'll need at least a day to look around each one. One of our favourites was Resina Market which is an absolute goldmine full of personality. The whole vibe of the place; from the architecture to the local vendors, screams vintage and we saw some really cool and crazy pieces there.
Personally, nothing compares to raking through an overfilled clothing rail at a bustling market, but the chaos of that isn't for everyone. If you're looking for that high end thrifting hit, Silva Ustato D'autore might be more up your street. They focus mostly on designer womenswear and accesories like Fendi and Gucci bags. High end vintage stores tend to be more curated which can take the fun out of thrifting, however we'd still recommend popping in to have a look even if you're not looking to splurge on designer items. If high end isn't really your thing, POP 21 sells the kind of Depop gold you might be after. It's a really cool boutique and claims to be the 'biggest and craziest' vintage store in Naples. Impressive, right? Another cool suggestion is the super sleek Retrophilia which offers a curated shopping style that still has all the character you'd expect from a second hand store - think Urban Outfitters but with more personality. Like in the UK where you can come across some really nice pieces in a charity shop, don't be scared to get stuck in over in Italy. As mentioned before, Naples has a long thrifting history and you never know what you might find. It's a must visit hotspot for thrifters and money makers alike, get yourselves there and experience it for yourselves.