Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Defining Vintage

It has come to my attention that there are many businesses, big and small, selling “vintage” fashions and accessories. I’ve recently visited these stores and saw their their "amazing" and "affordable" vintage finds...which cannot be given an accurate date or brand, and the pricing has been left to the discretion of the shop owner.

So how’s a shopper to know if it’s Vintage? Especially when it’s not obvious that the item is Vintage? Does it matter to the shopper if its true Vintage?

Derived from the wine making process, vintage is to describe something from seasons past. So does that mean that the dress from Fall 2009 is vintage? Technically speaking, YES. But in the vintage collector’s fashion world, NO. However, I’ve noticed a growing trend of retailers claiming to sell vintage fashions when indeed they’re not.

So what is Vintage? While it appears that the definition of Vintage is in the eye of the beholder, for starters its any item belonging to another era in the 20th century dating 20 years and older. Yes, that means that items from 1990 are now vintage pieces! If an item dates prior to the 1920s-1930s (timeline debatable), then you’re in the Antique category. Not my all!

For my personal collection and my business Better Than Naked, I choose to define vintage from the 1940s-1970s. The 1980s are Retro and 1990 doesn’t exist for me as a vintage item. I happen to be a collector of purses and admire their architecture, interiors, and chosen fabrics and materials. Purses range from exotic skins such as eel, cobra and lizard to cheap plastics and vinyls.

Say you just found out that your 1960s vintage purse from the corporate store or local boutique isn’t vintage like you thought or was told. Upon closer examination, you find a small tag inside that reads Made in China, when in reality that’s not where a purse from its era would have come from...If it’s not vintage, then WHAT is it?......It’s Vintage-INSPIRED.

Inspire: “to influence, move or guide...exalting influence on...” Vintage-inspired - new fashions inspired by fashions from 20 years and older.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying vintage-inspired, as it’s obviously a compliment to fashions and times of the past. I’m simply defining the difference, in case you wanted to know.


Emma! said...

Thanks! I was wondering about that - very educational! I'm following you from swapbot- will be back!


Vivian said...

This was very helpful! Thanks!

(newbatteri, from swap-bot)

Sarah Riley said...

I like your very detail definition of vintage. I, too, would not classify things from the 80's or 90's as vintage and like how you categorized the 80's as Retro.

I'm e2java from Swap-bot's "I want more blog followers" and I am now happily following your blog.

Coleen said...

Thank you for your article on what is vintage. I have vintage and retro jewelry in my Etsy shop. I"m following. Would you follow on my blogs?
Thanks, Coleen Franks Swap-Bot