How Vintage & Retro Clothing is Sorted and Graded

How Vintage & Retro Clothing is Sorted and Graded

Buying vintage and retro clothing on-line can be a daunting task. It’s safe to say that whilst a lot of businesses value their customers and would like a long-standing relationship with them other businesses deliberately mislead their customers into thinking they are getting better item then they are.

In the early days we here at Fierce Petite have even been caught out by trying a new supplier who we will say deliberately mis-graded their items, when we attempted to query it, we were met with the all-too-common silent treatment. Safe to say once burned twice shy and we will never be dealing with that supplier ever again.


So how does it all work?

When the clothes are being sorted at the recycling factory they are inspected and split off into type of item and different grades based on condition. The grades help identify the overall condition of the piece of clothing and to what extent if any damage it has.  Sometimes the grading is done on a letters system and sometimes on a numbers system, both systems work similar to give you an understanding of what you expect to receive.

Grade A or 1 - The item has very little or no signs of wear or could be unused and sometimes has the original tags still in place (Deadstock).

Grade B or 2 - The item is used but is still in good condition. It could have tiny marks or slight fading to the colour, a bit of bobbling, a button or two missing, a tiny hole which could be repaired.

Grade C or 3 - The item is still wearable but may have large un-washable stains, broken zips, holes or tears.

It is important to note that depending on who you speak to there may be slight variances in the grade’s conditions. E.g. Some wholesalers may class our grade C as grade B.


What grades do you sell at Fierce Petite?

So now you have an idea of the grades, here at Fierce Petite we try to stick to Grade A.  Occasionally we will include Grade B if we believe the item is good enough to go on the website but we will include photos of any defect and mention it within the description so you know exactly what you are purchasing, you will also find the price will be a little bit lower than similar articles.

What happens if an item isn’t acceptable?

We still hand pick all the vintage and retro items for our store, it is possible for a few items to slip through that we don’t deem acceptable for the website. We apply 3 checks.  First, we check the items as we unpack them.  Secondly, as all our items are washed by us, we do a stain and damage check before each wash. Following the wash, we do a third check for before ironing. This ensures that any damaged items can be separated and repaired or removed before listing for sale. 

It is important to remember that although we do all these checks, the odd tiny stain or hole can be missed.  When buying vintage especially if the item is over 30 years old, you should expect some sign of wear, maybe a loose thread or a tiny stain.  We of course try to always mention anything we notice, but you should not expect a brand-new item unless stated as Deadstock. 

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