VFG Code of Practice
All VFG members undertake to observe the following:
Code of Practice:
1. The member shall demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental criteria and is expected to provide such detail as:
- The approximate date of manufacture must be displayed in a prominent part of the listing, either in the title or description.
- The name (or construction) of the fabric (e.g. jacquard, satin, double knit, etc.) and fiber content, if known, (e.g. cotton, silk, rayon, etc.) must be displayed in a prominent part of the listing, either in the title or description.
- Any manufacturer’s label that is present in a garment or vintage item must be shown.
- State the condition of the item and disclose any flaws, damage, major repairs or alterations.
- Whether the item is a reproduction.
- Pertinent garment measurements.
2. The member shall not attempt to confuse or mislead the customer or falsely describe any of the goods he/she offers for sale or seeks to purchase.
3. Members accept responsibility for descriptions of items given to customers.
4. The VFG discourages the practice of modifying or altering undamaged vintage items for resale purposes.
5. Members shall apply standards of fair dealing to all members of the public, fellow members and non-member buyers and dealers.
6. Members have no authority to act on behalf of or speak for the VFG, save insofar as expressly authorized by the VFG Board.
7. Members shall not state or imply that membership of the VFG is any guarantee of authenticity of any article offered for sale or that memberships entitles them to any special standing insofar as authentication of articles is concerned. Responsibility for all claims or statements as to authenticity lies solely with the member.
8. Vintage Fashion Guild Members are expected to present lingerie, intimate apparel, and sheer or revealing garments in a tasteful manner. Members may use live models, however, overtly suggestive or sexual photographic poses, or wording is not allowed. Determination of acceptability of presentation is at the discretion of the Vintage Fashion Guild.
9. All information copied word for word from an outside source that is used in any way in a listing, on a website or in a VFG member’s shop, must credit the source.
Many things can help make an online listing more accurate, honest and successful. This list, written by trade members of the VFG, is our guide to best practices. We do not require all of these for membership (membership requirements can be found HERE ), but encourage these practices to be followed.
Best Selling Practices
- Show a shot of the label. Often seeing the label helps corroborate the date estimate, and gives the buyer further confidence. The label also gives the buyer information about the level of a designer’s work. If no maker’s label is present, but there is a Union Label, it is suggested that the Union Label be shown.
- Give as many measurements as is necessary. Fit is crucial with vintage clothing purchased online! You will get fewer questions, and fewer disappointed buyers the more measurements you offer. Many sellers offer bust, waist and hip, but depending upon the garment, there are other important measures.
- Descriptions and photos should include as much detail as possible. Construction details, such as metal zipper, pinked seams, shoulder pads, etc., should be included in the description.
- Do not use the term “vintage condition”. This frequently used phrase really offers no information to the buyer, and it seems to imply that all vintage clothing has flaws. Instead, be specific in describing the flaws.
- Make a condition report on each item that gives a true idea of the garment’s wearability. Use a chart, or clearly define what you mean when you use terms like “excellent” and “good”.
- Show a photo of any flaws or alterations. Picturing, as well as describing gives a much better idea of the scope of any issues.
- Present your vintage items in a positive light. Invest in a good iron or steamer, and make sure items are shown to their best advantage.
- Use key words that are appropriate to the garment. There is nothing but disappointment in opening a page to find that a garment called “Mod” is actually from the 50s or 70s. Keyword spamming is actually a violation of some web sites’ rules, and ought to be a violation of all competent sellers’ own ethics.
- Tell the fiber content of the fabric, to the best of your determination. At least describe the fabric (how heavy is it? how does it feel? how does it drape?) and become as familiar with fabric types and jargon as you can, so you can learn to pinpoint the material as accurately as possible.
- Make your photos as clear as possible. Use the best camera you can afford (try to find one with good macro capabilities for your close up shots), and use a tripod if needed to get a clear picture. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but only if it is clear enough!
- Show the item from different angles, but refrain from showing shot after shot of the same thing. Make sure you photograph all key angles and details, including unobstructed, full-length views of the front and back, as well as flaws and alterations. Buyers don’t need to see how fantastic the item looks from the front over and over, so save your space for other photos.
- Date items accurately and place in the proper category. The more accurately you can pinpoint the vintage, the more trusted you will be as a seller. Never use “vintage inflation” to sell an item, such as calling something from the late 1940s “WWII era.”
- Develop a set of clear and professional terms of sale. Make sure you spell it out so that buyers know exactly what to expect. Take a look at trusted sellers for ideas for your own terms.
- Check your spelling and proofread your listings. Now that spell check tools are ubiquitous, why not use them?