Who buys vintage clothes? Is it just hipsters or young adults or are there others? And what motivates them to buy vintage clothes?

If you’re starting a vintage clothing business or adding a vintage clothing line to an existing business, such questions no doubt, are at the top of your mind.

The target market for vintage clothing can be quite varied, as there are many different reasons why people might want to buy vintage clothing.

In this article, we will discuss some of the different groups of people who are most likely to buy vintage clothes. And we’ll look at the main reasons why these individuals might choose to shop for vintage clothing instead of buying new clothes from traditional retailers.

Target Market for Vintage Clothes
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What are Vintage Clothes?

The term ‘Vintage Clothes’ refers to clothing items that are typically over 20 years old. They can be from any era, but are often associated with the 1920s to the 1980s.

For instance, vintage clothes from the 1920s can include a flapper dress, while clothes from the 1960s can include an original hippie outfit. Similarly, clothes from the 1970s can have shirts with extra-large collars and bell-bottom trousers.

The Target Market for Vintage Clothing: Who Buys?

Today, vintage clothes are often seen as a fashion statement. People who wear them want to look unique and not like everyone else. As such, the target market for vintage clothing includes people who want to express their own style and stand out from the crowd. This might include teenagers, young adults, or people in their 30s and 40s.

Interestingly, there is also a growing market for vintage children’s clothes . This might be because parents want their children to look different from other kids at school, or simply because they like the style of older clothing designs. Whatever the reason, it seems that people of all ages can be included in the target market for vintage clothing!

So if you are starting a vintage clothes business, here are the market segments you can target:

  1. Teenagers and young adults who are looking for something unique to express their style
  2. 40 and 50-somethings who appreciate classic designs from past decades
  3. Parents with children who want them to have a different look at school
  4. College students who want to stand out from their peers with something unique
  5. Individuals buying for a special occasion

The Target Market for Vintage Clothing: Why do they Buy?

Vintage clothing has been in style for the last couple of decades now, with many people becoming obsessed with buying vintage fashion items to have a unique addition to their closets.

This means that there are many market segments that you can target when selling vintage clothes.

But as a retailer or marketer the big question you need to answer is WHY do people buy Vintage Clothes. What motivates them to make the purchase?

Let’s now understand the motivations of each of the segments we’ve listed in the previous section.

1. Teenagers/Young Adults and Vintage Clothing

Teenagers and Young Adults are often trying to find their way and place in the world and so look to ways to express their individuality and be different. Vintage clothes are typically more unique than modern-day apparel, so teenagers and young adults see them as a way to showcase their unique style.

Additionally, vintage clothing is often more affordable than designer clothes, so it’s a cost-effective way for this group to express themselves.

Lastly, many teenagers and young adults appreciate the sustainable/ethical fashion movement and see buying vintage clothing as a way to support this cause.

2. Middle-Aged Adults (40 and 50-somethings) and Vintage Clothing

Just as teenagers and young adults are trying to find themselves, many middle-aged adults are trying to re-invent themselves. And they often turn to clothing as the easiest accessory to change.

For some, wearing vintage clothing is a way to connect with their past and somehow feel younger in the process.

What is interesting about this segment of the target market for vintage clothing is that they have disposable income (unlike most teenagers and young adults). Also, this group of people will appreciate the history and story behind each piece of clothing. This means they could be willing to pay a premium for genuine vintage clothes which have been well preserved from their era.

Retailers and marketers can segment this market based on price and can consider charging extra for certain lines of clothing, knowing that their ideal customer will have the ability and willingness to pay more.

Online clothing stores that specialize in vintage clothing can also attract this segment of the market and keep them as loyal customers.

3. Parents buying Vintage Clothing for children

Some parents like to see their children look different than the other kids at school. They want their children to have a unique sense of style. Buying vintage clothing is one way for parents to give their children this uniqueness. Vintage clothes are not as common as modern clothes, so kids who wear them stand out from the crowd.

Some parents also believe that vintage clothing is more stylish and high-quality than modern clothing. They think vintage clothing makes their kids look classy and sophisticated. These parents also like to buy clothes that have been worn before because they believe it’s better for the environment.

4. College Students and Vintage Clothing

College campuses are full of fashion-savvy young people, so it’s easy for vintage clothes to become popular among this group. Used clothing stores target college students because they want to capitalize on young people’s fashion trends and their dedication to eco-friendly products.

College kids who buy vintage clothes are often concerned with making a statement, so they’ll look for one-of-a-kind pieces that make them stand out from the crowd.

In addition to being stylish, college students also appreciate the value of a good deal. Vintage items can be found at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales for a fraction of the price you’d pay at new clothing stores.

Also, modern college students can be very committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Buying used clothes is an easy way to do this because it reuses clothes that could otherwise end up in landfills.

5. Vintage Clothes for Special Occasions

A very common sale of vintage clothes happens for special occasions – like Carnival, Mardi Gras, Dress Parties and Theme Parties.

For instance, if someone is invited to a 1920s or 1930s dress party, they are likely to need period clothing. In this case, they might go to a vintage clothing store and buy something appropriate for the party.

This also happens with theme parties – like an Elvis party or a Beatles theme party. For these events, people often want to dress up in clothes that reflect the planned theme and are not easily found at regular stores. So they turn to vintage shops to find something special.

Using occasion-based segmentation marketers can attract customers who are looking to buy vintage clothes for special occasions.


The Target Market for Vintage Clothing typically includes people who want to look different, to express their individuality and stand out from the crowd.

This could include teenagers, college students and young adults trying to discover themselves. And it could include middle-aged adults looking for a throwback to the period of their youth. The market also includes parents who want their kids to look different thereby also making a statement about themselves.

No matter which of these segments you intend to target (or all of them!) be sure you understand the true motivations of your ideal customer and be aware that they might be going through a phase of their life. This means that these motivations are likely to change and your ideal customer may, at some point, go back to regular clothing.

Luckily though, as time goes by, there is always a new era being added to the “vintage list” giving you new opportunities to serve a growing market.