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Vintage Clothing Now Fashionable And Profitable
CNBC.com | October 18, 2010 | 09:59 AM EDT

Leave it to Hollywood to give used clothes cachet.

Once considered taboo to wear previously owned frocks, the red carpet is now crawling with A-list celebrities—Penelope Cruz, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker—sporting vintage gowns, handbags and even accessories.

“People have done that all along, but no one ever acknowledged it,” says Ruth von Witenberg Chernaik, co-owner of “Out of the Closet”, a vintage-clothing retailer in Bridgehampton, N.Y. “A few years ago, when the celebrities starting admitting they wear vintage and it got legitimized in a sense people started looking into vintage and saw the workmanship involved, the attention to detail, and that the fashions themselves are much more interesting.”

Indeed, the growing demand for the apparel of yesteryear has produced a surge of collectors on the prowl for pieces that reflect the craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind flair of a bygone era—not to mention the potential for investment returns.

And there is profit to be made.Some of the rarest and most important pieces of haute couture (custom made, high fashion), which were owned by celebrities and socialites, have skyrocketed in value.

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