It is no easy task recycling and grading vintage clothing in bulk to provide to vintage clothing boutiques world wide.
Each month textile recyclers save over 15 million pounds of clothing from being placed in landfills. The vintage suppliers work side by side with textile recyclers looking for those pieces that are still desired by boutique owners and vintage consumer. The task is not easy, but the mission is rewarding. Each piece that is not resold in a vintage boutique or thrift store is shipped to underprivileged countries or disaster areas around the glob looking for clothing and accessories. Find out more below…
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Finally a warehouse for vintage shop owners!
We created the online vintage warehouse with you in mind. We are glad to have you check it out.
Some of Our Best Sellers!
Things to Know
- We have a Special Running with a $350 Order Minimum for Online Order Only!
- All Vintage items are sold in packs of twelve
- Images are just samples of the type product that we put in our packs, no two packs are alike
RETURN CUSTOMERS: Please feel free to shop our collection and add objects to your cart, or should I say bin. You will get a email confirmation when your order is received.
NEW CUSTOMERS: If you do not have an account, feel free to look around but be advised before hand you will need to open an account before your order is approved.
When it comes to collecting vintage clothing from the United States the Japanese buyers have been paving the path for nearly 30 years. Since the eighties Japanese vintage collectors have been traveling across the United States hitting up thrift stores, vintage stores, clothing flea markets and just about anywhere they could find old vintage jeans, leather jackets, sneakers or t-shirts.
As the vintage clothing culture became more popular in Japan and the demand grew collectors began to find new ways to locate more product. Because each vintage piece is essentially a one-off it is difficult to determine the actual size and fit without trying it on. One problem the collectors had was finding vintage pieces that were not only the correct size but the way the garment fit had to be perfect as well. To overcome this obstacle they hired hip Japanese boys and girls that were the perfect body shape to match the sizes that they were looking for.
If you were young Japanese boy or girl size 30L 30W, 29L 30W or 32L 30W, you just might land a gig all expense paid buy trip to the US. You could get a budget up to 10 thousand dollars to spend on product and expenses.
Scores of young hip Japanese kids traveled across the United States in rental vans finding jeans, sneakers, t-shirts and jackets that were in there size and fit. They would show up to flea markets before they opened, often renting a stall for the sole purpose of shopping what the other vendors had before the public arrived.
If you were selling vintage clothing in the 90’s you were mainly into the business to source vintage Levis for some of these young Japanese buyers. The vintage culture in Japan was in full motion and the young Japanese fashionistas were obsessed with vintage American culture. Everything from American rockabilly, vintage surf, motocross, punk, 70’s skateboarding, 80’s sneakers was being snatched up whenever they could get there hands on it.
Meanwhile in the United States there was hardly a demand for vintage clothing except among theater students and fashion designers. It wasn’t until the young Japanese buyers came to the US looking for their select pieces that the vintage market in the US began to take root. The vintage clothing store became an outlet for these buyers to source more clothing in a select space. Instead of going through a never ending amount of racks at a thrift store looking for one or two good pieces, the buyers could now hit up a vintage clothing store and spend a couple of thousand dollars on a few hundred pieces in one stop.
Some shop owners got rid of the brick and mortar all together and just focused on setting up a warehouse or storage unit to show buyers their collection when they came to town. Flea Markets or swap meets dedicated to antique goods, esp. clothing started to become meeting places for American collectors and Japanese Buyers. Japanese buyers would scour their collections with flashlights on their heads before the collector had time to take it out of their trailer or trunk.
Soon old American clothing, used clothing, the stuff Rag houses labeled trecera or trash, was beginning to create a demand and industry of its very own.
Select old Levis were selling for over 1 thousand a pair retail in vintage shops in Tokyo, the average pairs of Levis were selling for up to 2 hundred a piece. It was a good market to be in and everyone seemed to be happy from the vintage collector in the US, the young Japanese buyer, to the collector and shop owner in Japan. The main force guiding the new market and helping it evolve was the Japanese shop owners who were funding it.
It seemed to be a lucrative market for everyone that was involved until one day the bottom fell out. One morning in late April a ship pulled into a port in Japan carrying a container with items that had never hit the Japanese seaboard in this much quantity before. The container was full of vintage Levis size 28-32 all folded and ready to hit the retail market.
Instantly the Japanese market was flooded and overnight the wholesale price of Levis dropped from $35 a pair to $6 a pair, often less than the collector had invested into them. Some collectors had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into Levis that they were saving for their Japanese buyers. Each collector took a hit and needed to find a way to replenish their losses. The demand didn’t end, but it changed, and as the dust began to settle from the fall out a new customer began to take notice of cool old things, and they would soon be a force to be reckoned with.
The time was the mid nineties, DJ’s were getting big, raves were in full swing and American fashion and culture had taken a turn towards more urban, loose fitting garments. If you didn’t go with the flow you were labeled alternative or independent (indy), and soon a huge alternative market began to take form.
Young kids and college student across the Untied States began listening to their alternative music, watching their alternative films and wearing their alternative clothes that just happen to be what the Japanese kids were into five years earlier. Bands like Nirvana and Tripping Daisey, made vintage clothing cool and alternative while films like Pulp Fiction and American Graffiti made it hardcore and independent. American collectors started putting their collections in vintage clothing stores where the new alternative American kids could find outfits to match their attitude.
One of the Japanese collectors that was there as the industry grew and changed is Rin Takan.
For the past 15 years Rin has put out a number of books in his My Freedamn series photographing collections and select pieces that helped turn the industry into what it is today.
Rin uses the knowledge he has gained from his years of collecting to put out an informative, artistic and creative coffee table books packed with images and story’s of why each style was unique and cool in it’s own way.
The My Freedamn series of books are not only great to look at but they are also a educational tool for anyone interested in vintage clothing and the vintage culture.
Rin Takan’s latest release Schott NYC 100 Years of An American Original features an amazing collection of leather jackets and outerwear put out by clothing manufacture Schott NYC.
To find out more about Rin Takan and My Freedamn check out http://myfreedamn.com
Over the years Dust Factory has bean the leading supplier of American recycled clothing, aka Vintage.
We cater to designers seeking inspiration, vintage boutiques and stores, remake companies, department stores in need of larger quantities, online sellers and exporters. Many of our accounts use our knowledge of the vintage industry to their advantage. By using us as a bulk supplier, they can better idea of whatâ€™s selling around the world, and how to price, merchandise and better push their vintage finds. Itâ€™s the combination of great clothes and knowledge that make store successful.
Dust Factory is unique in that we have the ability and knowledge to prepare orders for you. Family owned and operated we are an environmentally conscious fashion forward experienced and tested used clothing wholesaler with no appointments necessary come on by and check us out !
Buyers for Vintage Clothing Stores in the past are different from the buyers of today. When vintage shops customers were narrowed between theater students and collectors, buyers didn’t have to continuously re-fill their racks. As the market grew so did most buyers strategies. It seams some buyers are content with their techniques from the past, while others are forced to obtain their merchandise in other ways. Differences between the time and resources that the actual vintage buyers have, will predicate how and what type of merchandise each shop will carry. Some buyers choose to get their pieces by continuously spending there weekends hitting up vintage swap meets, garage sales, or estate sales. Everyone at one time or so, vintage collector or not, has spent a Saturday or Sunday morning driving from garage sale to garage sale. Some times it pays off and the buyer can find great eclectic pieces through shopping this way, but more times than none they’ll spend hours upon hours sifting through piles of clothes, or whatever the hunt is for, in peoples front yards to come up with a couple of pieces or none. A vintage collectors time is valuable, seeing how most buyers are in fact shop owners, and would rather spend time at there shop where they are needed most, instead of peoples yards. Vintage Clothing Swap Meets are a good alternative, if a city near the buyer even hosts one. Unfortunately most vendors at these swap meets are in fact shop owners themselves, trying to sling there second hand dead stock* for cheap, while they sell there good vintage merchandise at a retail price. Sometimes good deals can be found, but again, the time and effort to sift through these swap meets can be demanding, leaving buyers to many times empty handed.
Most Vintage buyers that need to purchase in bulk, skip over garage sales and vintage clothing swap meets completely, and go directly for the source. They hit a rag house, the end of the rode for most clothes. Rag houses are warehouses that collect every charitable clothing item that anyone, anywhere, has ever given away. They are kind of like the manufacturer for the vintage clothing industry, if you can accept that they are not actually manufacture anything. They are instead more like the ultimate supplier for the industry. Although supplying for vintage buyers is not what the company are set up to do. Some donated items are picked out and sold in second hand thrift stores. Nonetheless, it seems that more times than none, the clothing ends up at a rag house that will bail it, weigh it, and ship it to another country. Vintage shop buyers have bean hitting up rag houses for years now, asking them to sift through there merchandise and pull out pieces that would sell in a shop. Many rag houses have found that it is indeed profitable to separate vintage pieces from the rest of their rags, to sell to vintage collectors. For a little more per pound than the average bails, a vintage buyer can purchase 1000-pound bales of merchandise that they need for their shop. This is a better solution than hunting down single pieces at garage sales or swap meets, but it still leaves a lot to be un-desired.
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