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Why is vintage fashion hip again?

18th April 2012 Print

Fashion is a never ending circular movement, looking to the past to recycle and refine, endlessly reinventing the shapes and combinations of past decades into new and beguiling combinations.

People everywhere are being energised by a popular interest in vintage clothing. It is a movement that is in the middle of a huge resurgence. The high visibility of vintage fashion in recent years is in part due to the adoption of the trend by highly visible models and celebrities.

Vintage is a term used generically for any old clothing, but it more precisely it refers to clothing made between 1920s and the 1960s as clothing before the 1920s is considered antique. Vintage is different to retro, where modern garment makers seek to emulate older styles in modern fabrics and materials.

Most vintage clothing has had previous owners and is available from a wide range of outlets. These include specialist vintage stores, fabric recyclers, charity shops, car boot sales, free markets, antique markets and fashion fares.

Like most things, the Internet has revolutionised the vintage clothing market with a trend towards trading clothes via specialist forums and websites. Mainstream websites such as eBay also carry large stocks of vintage clothes.

Peoples interest in vintage fashion can be motivated by many different desires. Some may have an interest in vintage clothing in order to be able to create a distinctive look for themselves. Others may be determined collectors, captivated by the history of clothing design. Serious collectors are particularly interested in vintage designer garments by houses such as Coco Chanel, Mariano Fortuny, Moncler, Jeanne Paquina and Ossie Clarke. Those that reflect iconic periods of a particular designers work are valued highly. For other collectors, clothing may justify a premium given a certain providence. A garment may have been warned by a celebrity or have value attached to it for another reason. Still other collectors are nostalgic for certain periods of history and seek to emulate the styles of clothing from that time.

It is not hard to understand the appeal of vintage clothing. Modern designer garments can cost enormous amounts of money, whereas there vintage equivalents can be snapped up for bargain prices. When cultivating a unique look for ones self a trip to the vintage outlet may provide inspiration for outfits and new ways to it accessorised existing looks.

New clothes often only enter the market from estate sales. It is always worth checking if any older relatives have clothes stashed in their attics. As existing stock is bought up, vintage clothing is becoming increasingly expensive. Retailers wise to the trend have exploited traditional supplies over the last 20 years.

Shopping in a vintage store rather than charity shops holds many advantages for the buyer. It is a little more expensive but clothes will have been selected because they are in a saleable condition. They will also be labelled with sizes so you can are avoid finding something you love you, only to realise it does not fit you. Everything will have been washed and freshly pressed. In short, they have taken care of the sorting process for you saving you time and energy at the cost of a few extra pounds.