Eric Hessler (left) and Jim Buckley (right), owners of The Clothing Warehouse, provide the ideal selection for customers searching for the perfect vintage piece.
The Clothing Warehouse in Vero Beach, Fla. is a cement f loored space holding the remnants of prom dances, spring breaks in Cancun, and cheerleading uniforms, with Eric Hessler as the curator. The vintage wholesale warehouse is an extension of The Clothing Warehouse retail space in Atlanta. The Vero Beach location was birthed out of a need to overhaul the environment of vintage wholesale. Now, The Clothing Warehouse is a thriving wholesale vintage provider. Clothing in the United States prior to the 1980s was made to last; there was an aspect of respect and dignity Americans formerly attached to clothing. “Homespun fibers and natural materials sewn together to be durable and made to last used to be a normal thing. Kids went shopping at the beginning of the school year with the mindset to make whatever they were lucky enough to receive last the entire year. That’s a lot of baseball games, school dances, 4-H contests, after school jobs, sporting events and weekend fun. These clothes had to make it through all of that,” Hessler said. Clothing was tailored and labeled with monikers branding the piece as an extension of the wearers being; the “Bobby” written on the tag was then crossed out to say “Bobby’s Little Brother’s.” As
prices for clothing and fabric fell, so did the quality of the garments. The fast fashion that is produced today is that of lesser intricacy and mediocre design innovation. “Quality is what is most important when seeking vintage clothing. Hold a 1960s Levi’s BIG E jacket and then hold one made today - they’re different. Really different,” Hessler noted. Like an old kale smoothie ageing in the back of the fridge, greenwashing has made the message of sustainability rotten and harmful to consumers. Fast fashion’s use of phrases like “efforts towards conservation” and “ideas of sustainability for the future” has covered buyers’ eyes with rose-colored, cat eye glasses that blind them from true ethical sellers. When those glasses are removed, the “consciously” made, brightly-hued H&M sweater fades to a rotten brown, sharing its truths, such as “I won’t biodegrade for 100 years,” and “I am the outcome of an unlivable wage for workers.” Knowledge is the only thing that scrubs away greenwashing’s grime and leaves behind an enlightened consumer. The reborn buyer can now seek out the small and local, proving that morality is free. Deception is the real cost - don’t pay it. Sustainability is a responsibility.
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