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Wednesday 8 February 2012

Domestic Debate Round-up: Are We Over Vintage?

Flickr image eldh's photostream.
Last night we had our first Domestic Debate over on our Facebook page and Twitter. And gosh do you guys love a good debate! It was fantastic and fascinating to see all the responses. We talked about all kinds of stuff such as whether vintage as a trend was over; if it was overpriced and whether it mattered if it was authentic or not. We also wondered about whether vintage had become too associated with 50s polka dots and twee Instagram pictures and become a certain lifestyle. Did this mean it had lost any meaning now that it's so popular? And what next? Are we ready for the 90s to make a comeback as the new vintage trend?

As there were so many discussions going on, we've rounded up some of them to share with you. If you want to see the whole lot, head over to Twitter and Facebook. If you didn't get chance to join in, please add your comments below - we love hearing from you!

First up, we asked if people are still excited about the vintage trend or if it's run its course. This started a discussion about whether it was a trend or something more than that.

"It depends if you consume it as a trend. Also the very best vintage clothes are one-off's and as such will always be original." - @vintagesecret

"Vintage is still exciting, fashionable or not, the pieces have a history to them which is more exciting than high street ware." - @Emilys_Heart

"I wish it had never become such a huge trend. I've been doing the vintage thing for many many years - it spoilt the uniqueness!" - Emma Louise Bass

"I'm not sure it's a trend either, in that fashion/interiors/beauty etc has always been inspired by the past" - @emma_cossey

"Feels less like a trend and more just who I am." - @VintageHazey

That led us on to asking about how you felt about 'vintage-style' being more accessible on the high street.

"I love that small vintage shops are coming onto the high street, I just don't like major retailers 'taking it away' from the independents." - The Vintage Directory

"There is a bit of a difference between vintage and vintage style. I am happy for both to be accessible on the high street." - @rosalilium_

"It's fine - fashion should be about fun. I'd rather have proper vintage, but it's not always easy to find!" - @ThisGirl_is 

"Thing about "vintage style" on high street is it doesn't embrace idea of recycling old clothes, which is an important part." - @missalicebmbds

"There's room for vintage to exist on many levels; lifestyle to fad. For some it's just Cath Kidston." - @CuriositeaShop

So then we asked, does it matter if something isn't authentic? If 90s stuff can be sold as vintage? Is it more than just a date? 

"If you're old enough to remember it the first time around, it's not vintage. The whole concept of 'vintage 90s' kills me!" - @GemmaCartwright

"It matters if a seller doesn't disclose if it isn't authentic" - @The Hankerer

"Surely that's then the diff between antique and reproduction, it's not the real deal." - Freaki Deaki

"An item has to be over 25yrs old to be true vintage. As a vintage seller I'm still shocked how many people have misconceptions." - @emmabphilosophy

" I have a problem with something being classed as vintage when it's only a month old Primark." - @VictoriaJ_Guy

"Quality and design should stand the test of time. Great design transcends a date. It shouldn't really matter." - @wee_ktb 

"True authenticity important, otherwise it just becomes yet more high st mass produced disposable fashion." - @MsEeeBee

"I hate anything plastic with roses on it, you will never find a vintage iphone case or laptop bag they don't exist. Inspired by vintage yes, not real vintage. The smell and especially with home wares, which I specialise in, is the patina and just that little bit that says I have been used for 50 years and can go for another 50 years." - Daryl Bowen

Ok, so authenticity matters but has that meant that the prices have gone up on authentic vintage? Are collectors or die-hard fans being priced out because of the popularity?

"I prefer a charity shop rummage.Vintage fair items are overpriced.Paying for vintage classification?" - @frmundrtheduvet

"Oh God YES. And the price has gone up on things that really aren't worth that much in reality, but add the buzz word "vintage" and it makes it worth that amount, regardless of whether or not it's in good condition." - Tiffany Jane Riley

"Vintage" is second hand... with £30 slapped onto the price." - @HippyMeow

"Think you have to shop/search smarter to find nice affordable stuff now. So much 'vintage' is just trash too." - @Convo_Pieces 

"The worst thing is that the cheap crap seems to be forcing the price of the good stuff to go up." - @SianySianySiany

"If true vintage is well made and in good condition then I don't think it should be sold for a fiver - it's rare and special." - @emmabphilosophy

We wondered then if vintage was increasingly becoming associated with a certain look - we're looking at you polka dot 50s inspired prom dresses - or a twee, Instagram hipster lifestyle and whether it has lost what it means now that it's more popular.

"Yes it has completely lost its meaning and identity, I personally feel that way about my identity at the moment. I look at my life, my clothes, my home and think "I'm a living cliche!"" - Tiffany Jane Riley

"In a word, yes! I think it's all rather twee." - @minxerolic

"What did 'vintage' ever mean? I think those who don't like it being popular are being unnecessarily elitist."- @LovelysVintage

"It's become a bit of a badge to enable vendors to charge more, or nasty flowery tat be passed off as desirable." - @KathHolmes

"There does seem to be this general assumption that vintage = 1950s. Which is a bit odd." - @GemmaCartwright

"Don't think it lost its meaning, it's just evolved. I see people selling 80's jumpers as vintage...not for me but people buy!" - @magpiesandi

"For me it's about reinterpreting previous decades for how we live now and taking the best e.g. the clothes, not so much a return to old fashioned values or a better way of life (too rose-tinted spectacles for me), I also like reusing things rather than throwing them away and buying new" - Gwyneth Brock

"I think trouble is that vintage is now a style rather than a description." - @abibrighton

"To be honest I prefer not to use the word vintage at all. Even with the 25+ year definition it's too all-encompassing." - @alabamacupcakes

"Vintage is about the story of an item. Why and where it was made, who used it and how. Much more than a style." - @VintagePleasure

"Vintage to me, is something timeless. Something that new items are based on. An antique and sought after." - Kirsty Radford

And finally we wondered where the vintage trend was going next and what the 90s would be remembered for when we finally came to terms with them being vintage!

"Soon enough "vintage" will become mainstream high street fashion, there'll be no distinction. No one will know the difference." - @MadisonJHughes

"If you like something, wear it!! 'Trend' or not..." - @3smallapples

"And quite frankly, why would I *not* want to wear a silhouette that makes the most of my boobs, waist and hips. Trend or not." - @GemmaCartwright

"More mixing of genres please and home alterations! Let's have more fun." - @shinypigeon

"Global hypercolour tshirts, shift dresses with tshirts underneath and dm's, PVC trousers??? Wow, my wardrobe was awful." - @sarahbrights

"'90s grunge is supposed to be one of the next big looks - plaid shirts anyone?!" - @SarahFYoung

"GOOD vintage is getting scarce/wearing out. won't be replaced as most modern clothes = not same quality." - @vintagesecret

"Galliano, Gaultier etc this will be the 90s 'vintage' that will stand the test of time." - @LovelysVintage

Phew! We covered a lot! It was such a great debate (feel free to have your say in the comments below). We're going to make this a regular thing. All we have to decide is what to argue about next.

Flickr image eldh's photostream.


  1. As an old-school vintage lover, ie since ever I can remember, I admit to feel a little dismay at its commodification over the last year or so. I recently wrote about Tesco selling a dress online and calling it 'vintage', yet it came in a whole range of sizes to choose from! True vintage is one-off pieces, not rails of tea dresses available in a range of sizes. Avoid high street vintage ranges and go straight for the charity shops, the fleamarkets, the small stores you've loved for years. The high street gets enough of our pennies already without jumping on the vintage ones!

  2. I used to love buying weird and wonderful second hand clothes in Camden and form the charity shop I volunteered in when I was a teenager. I'd mix them and match them.

    Old or second hand is not always better. I like now but I like things that catch my eye and go with my life, whatever the era or the style. I am apparently having a 1950s themed hen do and I am not such a fan. I've never really been into very literal second hand/vinatge styling. I prefer to mix it up to make it work for me.

    As for the 90s - I still dress like Shirley Mansun or Courtney Love in the 90s accidentally now from time to time. As that was how I dressed in my teen years it sometimes comes out now I am in my late twenties. The grunge look was catwalk wehn Marc Jacobs did it first time round and has been popping up on the catwalks and high street for a while again now. When people mock it I don't get it as for me plaid shirts, babydolls and shifts seem relatively timeless as they were noramlised for me in the 1990s (when most of the shifts I wore were from the 1960s and from charity shops and my layers included great Welsh tapestry jackets from charity shops too).

  3. Sorry I missed that - sounded interesting. I'll have to look out for the next one ???


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