Vintage items given new life by Saudi admirers of Gen Z

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DJEDDAH: The collection of antiques and vintage pieces is gaining popularity among Millennial and Gen Z Saudis, with a growing number of Instagram stores selling pieces at a wide range of prices.
The acquisition and reuse of vintage clothing, accessories and housewares, especially among young consumers, arises from a new sense of individuality, uniqueness and self-expression.
In Saudi Arabia, used items have always been recycled through charity. However, that is changing as the conversations about resale, used parts, or pre-loved parts evolve, thanks to millennials, who are a receptive audience to these return products.
Although there are antique shops spread across the Kingdom, these typically focus on pieces with aesthetic and historical significance.
While there is no established market for these types of businesses in Saudi Arabia, things are starting to change as the attitude towards pre-used products changes.
Reem Aba Alkhayl, a Saudi Fashion Design graduate from the University of Otago in New Zealand, is the owner of vintage boutique La Reema in Jeddah.
In its online store, Aba Alkhayl offers a selection of modern and minimalist vintage clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories in classic silhouettes.
In addition to the sense of beauty and authenticity that vintage items provide, for Aba Alkhayl, cherishing vintage is also a response to fast fashion.
“While an appreciation for design, history and individuality sparked my initial interest in vintage, I am also drawn to enduring attributes as a further step towards environmental protection,” a- she told Arab News.

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In Saudi Arabia, used items have always been recycled through charity. However, the situation changes as the conversations about resale, used parts or pre-liked parts evolve.

As interest in fast fashion trends begins to wane, people are looking for more timeless, better quality pieces and unique designs, she added.
“Plus, new fashion trends are just old ones coming back to life, so what better way than buying the item that was produced first? “
Founded in 2020, La Reema is aimed at Saudi women living in regions “where it is quite difficult to find such unique pieces”.
Aba Alkhayl appreciates unique designs that have their own history. She researches the maker of each of her parts, the brand, style and place of origin, and tries to pass that story on to the next owner of the part.
As a vintage enthusiast and collector, Aba Alkhayl has forged ties with antique stores and vintage sellers around the world, including UK, US, France, Italy and Russia. .
Since vintage is a newly introduced culture to the Saudi community, sellers face challenges when dealing with potential customers.
“Our items have a history stretching back 20 years and more, so due to previous wear and the passage of time they may have flaws or imperfections,” said Aba Alkhayl. “It’s a fact that unfortunately not all customers can understand. “
Also, once the part is sold, sellers can no longer restock it due to its rarity.
The growing popularity of vintage has been linked to several factors, including the current economic climate, a change in consumer attitudes towards wearing and using second-hand goods, and the inclusion of vintage inspirations in fashion designs. current.
Eco-fashion and sustainable commerce values ​​with the help of social networks and media have played a huge role in commercializing this trend.
The growth of the resale economy around the world, especially in fashion, appears to be largely driven by millions of millennials and Gen Zers who are starting mini-businesses online or participating in existing platforms.
For example, the London-based Peer-To-Peer vintage social shopping app has over 18 million users, 90% of whom are under the age of 26.
In addition, according to a recent report from online second-hand clothing platform Thred Up, the total second-hand market is expected to almost double the size of fast fashion by 2029.
Ghaida and Ghadeer Alaliwi are two cousins ​​who founded Le Rovine Concerto, the first Saudi vintage gallery dedicated to vintage hand-painted tea and coffee cups, in 2016.
“The Saudis love coffee and tea. Everyone in Saudi Arabia prepares their delicious drink in their own way, with flavors, service or even a fancy cup that speaks of authenticity and tradition, ”they told Arab News.
Since then, the pair have attracted hundreds of customers and thousands of followers across the Kingdom, with the stories behind the pieces being a common factor in attracting vintage buyers.
“The scarcity of coins has attracted many people to acquire coins of artistic, cultural and historical significance for their homes.”
The two have noticed an increase in the number of vintage Instagram stores in Saudi Arabia, especially in 2020.
“Perhaps the period of severe pandemic inspired people to work creatively to counter the difficult circumstances imposed by the pandemic. “
Collecting and selling vintage is hard work and requires passion and patience. For Ghaida and Ghadeer, their store is an investment in a hobby that they can share with others.
Cousins ​​said they were fascinated by the antique tea sets their grandmother displayed in her dining room display cabinet. The craftsmanship of decades ago, despite the lack of resources at the time, was their main source of inspiration, justifying millennials’ fascination with nostalgia.
“Vintage housewares have unparalleled beauty, something modern pieces lack. They were made of a good material that has helped them survive the passage of the years, and also bore inscriptions symbolizing previous societies that highlight their authenticity.

The Rovine Concerto offers tea and coffee pieces made by artists from England, Japan, Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Italy for guests who appreciate luxury and elegant details and classic moviegoers wanting to add a touch of whimsy to their coffee corners.

“We collect memories and stories, our products come to us on long flights from various continents, especially from the homes of their owners who acquired them decades ago, or from those who inherited them, as well. as vintage and antique stores. “

This passion has its challenges, they added. Satisfying customers looking for elegance and uniqueness requires careful attention to the pieces they choose, while pricing should take into account potential losses due to damage or breakage of certain products during transit.

Nonetheless, the two Alaliwis insist that they love and appreciate what they are doing.

“If the money is to be wasted, then let it be on something that gives you the same pleasure every time, no matter how much time has passed.”


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