The art of the kilo sale

2 Mins read

The new affordable way Gen Z are fighting back against fast fashion.

With a revolving door of micro-trends coming into fruition one moment and into landfill the next, it’s no surprise that when it comes to consuming fashion, ‘sustainability’ has become a buzzword populating the minds of Gen Z.

A 2021 survey commissioned by the Business of Fashion found that 84% of UK consumers interviewed like the sustainable aspect of purchasing second-hand, with 86% stating that pre-loved fashion allows them to buy items they would otherwise not be willing to pay full price for.

With those survey statistics in mind it’s no wonder that ‘kilo sales’ have become the new trendy way for Gen Z to piece together their new wardrobe. 

A kilo sale is a pop-up shop selling second-hand clothing and accessories at affordable prices, with the total cost being dependant on the weight of the haul.

The sale I attended was organised by Preloved Kilo, who hold events all over the UK. Their goal? To supply “sustainable fashion and affordable vintage”, with one kilo costing £20. 

I swung by one of their kilo sale events being held in Peckham this past weekend to get a glimpse of the action. The room, which was once formerly a car park, now known as Peckham Levels, was full of racks of apparel categorised via clothing type. 

As someone who personally prefers the calm that comes with shopping online, I found the experience rather chaotic. With shoppers frantically sifting through the racks in hopes to find new additions to their wardrobe, while staff rushed to replenish stock that was taken. 

jackets hung up on clothing rail at the kilo sale event.
Jackets are among the heavier items at a kilo sale event [Megan Ross]

The stock itself was populated with unique vintage brands merged, with some more mainstream finds such as Adidas, Ellesse, and The North Face. 

One university student shared with me her haul of six items (three scarfs, two shirts, and a dress) she brought for £26. When I asked whether she felt the clothing was worth the price she replied, “I think it’s worth it if you’re buying lighter clothing like shirts, you can get a lot for a decent price. However, heavier pieces like jeans or coats become a bit more expensive.”

When it came time to weigh your haul for your total price, it became clear that many were unsure on what a kilo of clothing actually looked like. Many seemed shocked when their total order exceeded the £20.

It seems like the general consensus regarding the kilo sale in pretty evenly split, with some leaving with literal suitcases full of clothing to take home, while others left empty-handed. 

“It’s a good business model but overall I think it’s a bit of a scam,” one seemingly underwhelmed shopper explained to me. “You can find just as good second-hand clothes on places like Vinted for cheaper.” 

It seems finding success at a kilo sale is dependent on your shopping goals: “It’s great if you’re down to take the time to search for the good stuff,” another shopper explained, with their main piece of advice being to “arrive early and with a lot of patience”.

If you’re looking for sustainable fashion and willing to take the time to browse the long racks of clothing hanger-by-hanger, going back a forth weighing your haul to fit into your budget, then you’ve come to the right place.

However, those who are only looking for affordable single items of clothing may find more smooth-sailing success on online second-hand stores such as Ebay, Vinted, and Depop. 

Featured image by Megan Ross.

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