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Breathing new life into old clothes

Choice of vintage clothing is both sustainable and bang for buck

Published: 29 August 2019

The first thing Wayne Siu does after buying a suit is put it in the freezer.

“It kills the moth larvae,” he laughs.

The Auckland Council Plans and Places planner’s wardrobe is all vintage so finding moth larvae comes with the territory.

The slender 29-year-old says vintage clothing “looks good” and appeals to his “geeky side”.

Wayne knows most of his clothing has come from people who have passed, but it doesn’t bother him.

It does, however, bother his Hong Kong Chinese parents.

“In Asian culture, it’s bad luck to wear second-hand clothes – and dead people’s clothes… so you could say they’re not great fans of it.”

While his parents had hoped it was an obsession he would “one day grow out of” they have come to accept his fashion preference.

“Although they still give me a light-hearted ribbing every time I see them,” he smiles.

Many of his pieces are older than his parents and his grandparents.

“My favourite pieces would be a French top hat from the 1870s and a 1920s three-piece suit I found at the Red Cross shop in Matamata.”

Wayne’s infatuation for vintage clothing started at high school.

 “I guess you could say I got seriously into it in my early 20s when I started working and I had more disposable income.”

Sustainability is important to the keen swing dancer who buys the majority of his outfits from pre-loved clothing stores or charity shops.

“I’m also getting bang for my buck.”

An old leather watch and gold vintage-inspired frames complement his look, but his obsession stops at his outerwear.

“I don’t wear vintage underwear,” he points out.

Wayne has been invited to talk during New Zealand Fashion Week (which runs until September 1) at the Central City Library.

His talk (on August 30 at 12pm) is titled ‘Why I Wear Dead People’s Clothes’.

For tickets and to find out more about what’s on offer across New Zealand Fashion Week and Fashion Weekend visit: nzfashionweek.com/fashioninthecity

Read more: Fashion

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