Vintage is everywhere. When you think about it; that’s rather a silly statement. Of course, vintage is everywhere – as soon as something’s been around for a while it effectively becomes ‘vintage’, being replaced by something newer that’s the latest flavour of the month. By definition then, vintage is everywhere – of course it is!
Indeed, just we all get older, when young people replace those nearing middle-age as the younger generation, you might argue the older generation has then become ‘vintage’; not that they’re time is up, not that they’re past it and certainly not that they’re no use to anyone anymore. The world and life – thankfully! – doesn’t work that way.
And, in fact, neither should clothes; garments that have been around for a while need not be thrown away or adjusted and recycled if they’re still in good condition – their time shouldn’t be up as they’re not past it. And it’s the waking up to this fact by millions of people that’s led to the rise of so-called vintage fashion; the realisation that older clothes are still wearable because they still look great – in fact, they’re not just wearable; they *should* be worn!
But does that alone explain why vintage clothing is enjoying a particular boon right now? Or is there a little bit more to it?
The celebrity factor
Like or not, in the past few years, the renaissance of vintage may in part be attributable to the fact so many celebrities have been photographed and appear in newspapers and magazines and on the Internet happily wearing vintage in public. This, in many people’s minds then, has helped underline the reality there’s no barrier at all to wearing vintage and looking entirely with-it and modern – and with that, using vintage clothes to help carve out and express one’s own style and individual dress sense.
And tied to this is the fact that, increasingly, people may be coming to the conclusion – inevitably then (to explain the above point), celebrities among them – that modern, up-to-the-minute high-street fashion is becoming rather generic, a little too homogenous. To wear a good deal of today’s new fashion is too often to look like everyone else. By contrast, when worn with care and imagination, vintage fashion – or newly made retro fashion – can transcend time; if it was smartly worn back in the day and looked cool, elegant, beautiful or simply sensational, why on earth wouldn’t it now? After all, trends on the catwalk and (supposedly) new fashion in the high-street outlets are forever influenced by past trends – what goes around comes around. And that means, conversely perhaps, that one never looks more on-trend than when subtly wearing vintage or retro.
The opportunity for self-expression
Maybe most of all, though, vintage/ retro is enjoying an undeniable time in the sun right now because it’s an enabler – it ensures its enthusiasts can be enthusiasts of themselves; that is, of their own sense of style and fashion and how they wish to be seen – how they want to present themselves to the outside world and what about their own personalities they want to share through how they dress. It can be – flying in the face of homogenous high-street garments – about self-expression. And, through that, about liberation and free-styling.
Many people turn to and develop an interest in vintage/ retro through seeking out or, by accident rather than design, discovering that one piece that they have to have, which becomes that favourite in their wardrobe they constantly pull out and mix and match with so many other things. That, of course, is wonderful, but it can lead them further into the wide world of vintage clothing online; it can become a door that opens them up to all the possibilities out there.
To use the wardrobe as a metaphor then, that one piece can open the door into a magical Narnia-like world of opportunity that’s vintage/ retro fashion. But, unlike Narnia, the marvellous thing is that you can return to the modern day and sport your vintage garb along with today’s fashion because they all mix together so well; after all, fashion fads and trends come and go, but vintage is forever – it’s everywhere.