Recently, vintage clothing and thrift shopping have taken off among young adults who want to shop sustainably, save money, or just find something that stands out against mass-produced fast fashion. And for many, half the fun is sharing their favorite finds on social media. Natalie Miller, jewelry designer and self-proclaimed “avid thrifter” and “slow fashion enthusiast,” posted a video on TikTok where she shared her experience at an estate sale. She found an interesting-looking patchwork piece that looked like a quilt at the bottom of a box. When she pulled it out of the box, she realized it was something more unusual—a sweater with a quilted front. And then she saw the Ralph Lauren label.

That wasn’t the only label on the sweater. When Miller unbuttoned it, she found a tag explaining that the sweater was “heirloom-quality clothing” and “made from an authentic antique quilt,” so it required special care and cleaning. “We recommend gently airing in the traditional nineteenth century manner” and “If cleaning should become necessary, please consult an expert in antique textiles” were part of the care instructions. Intrigued, Miller bought the sweater for $10 and took it home to do some research. She included her findings in her TikTok video: The sweater was part of Ralph Lauren’s Fall/Winter 1982 collection, which drew inspiration from American folk art and, to some controversy, used fabric from antique quilts. As Miller learned, another sweater from the collection is in a museum at the University of Minnesota.

Miller told Insider that she hopes to have the sweater appraised and possibly give it to a museum where it can be properly preserved.


Woman holding sweater with patchwork quilted front

Miller holding up her sweater.

Button-down sweater with a patchwork quilted front

Photos: Natalie Miller

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