That’s Vintage? Oh How Things Change.
It seems when you do anything long enough things change , right ? Apparently things are really changing fast . No not just electronics , though that is mind-boggling in itself , but what is now actually considered ” Vintage” .
When I started selling “Vintage” back in 1989 there were rules to go by . It was an antique if it was 100 or more years old , anything made in the 50s was Retro and Vintage was 1960- 1970 period , 20 years old made up the Collectibles category . With that said technically all of the clothing we were selling then was truly antique and or retro . Alas we all just called it Vintage Clothing .
In the 90s more and more 1970s pieces seemed to be finding their way out of closets and attics . I drew my line in the sand . NO, not for me I wore that stuff, how could that be old enough to be vintage or even collectible ? I wanted to stay true to my genre and continue to offer the best pieces from 1850s – 1950s . So along my merry way I went .
Enter the New Millennium . I was in the business for 11 years and thought I had a handle on what was current and sought after . After all didn’t I regularly see customers of all ages from teens to 60s seeking out true vintage pieces for wear , show or collecting ? But the shift had started and I was asked more frequently for 60s and 70s fashions . 1960s pieces I had a smattering of mostly because they were too cute to pass up but still no 70s, and I let pass by some true gems. But the customer is always right so I wrapped my head around adding some great examples to my offerings. It wasn’t hard to come by and soon some wonderful Disco Era gowns, wrap dresses and palazzo pants hung in the shop . There, I can keep up with the times .
Then we were ushered into the 20teens and my 20 plus years of buying and selling . Of course by now I see that having a few 80s pieces is the due course . They were almost easier to accept as most of the pieces I now looked for were great knock offs of the Edwardian – 1920s styles . Long lengths , drop waists , beaded and silks in lovely feminine colors and accessories . I was feeling pretty sure of myself , current and business forward .
What now ? The Millennials are seeking their own vintage . We all have nostalgia for our youth and what we remember as cool or hip in fashion and this generation is defining what is “Their Vintage” . They are buying corporate labels and sports wear , early hip hop and designer fashions . These things that are easily found in thrift shops and second-hand stores are now the Vintage of Today ? Apparently so .
Where does this leave me ? Well as I round the corner on the start of my 30th year in this business I have had to do some hard thinking . Do I now try to learn this new trend ? Learn the labels , colors and styles that stand out in this new market. I struggled with this for some time and knew I had to define what was “My Vintage”, what do I want to deal in and who are my customers ? Over the last 29 years I have been blessed with a customer base of women who are individuals , truly beautiful and confident , who write their own vintage stories . They mix and match , they add and alter , and they own it when they walk into a room with 40s hair, 50s lipstick and a dress of any vintage that shows off their curves . These are the women that define My Vintage , these are the women that inspire me and make me love what I do ,these are the women that give me hope for the future of our world ,these are my customers and I love them . So as long as they continue to dictate what suits them I am happy to offer the pieces I love . 1920s days dresses , 1930s evening wear, 1940s office suits, 1950s cocktail dresses , 1960s minis , 1970s polyester and 1980s designer wear and foe the rest I will cross that bridge when I get there .