With trends in and out of fashion faster than they are placed on the racks, the fine line between ‘hot’ and vintage has been blurred. Any style from a previous era is considered as vintage clothing – which happens to inspire many of the up and coming trends. Many individual pieces of clothing are of vintage style or vintage inspiration but not what we’d call a true collectible. For an item to be considered as truly vintage, it must have hailed from an earlier age and survived the wear and tear of time. Vintage clothing is a collective term for second-hand itemized pieces that originated from the 1920s up to the 1990s. Sometimes synonymous to -vintage-, -retro- clothing are garments procured from the 60s and the 70s specifically. Anything before the 1920s is considered as an antique, meant to be preserved, even showcased. Anything after the 1990s on the other hand, which has been out of -vintage- reach, is still hideous.
A cycle of fashion trends is one determinant where certain styles are considered as outdated or vintage-chic. It used to have been a rotation of 50 years, cut down to 30, 20 and now, even 10. Turnovers from era to era are gaining speed and fast. Vintage clothing used to be limited to the 1970s and its preceding years, but now the 80s and the 90s are already making their comebacks. With huge tees and jumpers reemerging from the grunge era, and shoulder pads and bare midriffs from the disco age, the 21st century should be ready for a turnover soon. But vintage pieces are those that transcend current trends. Made from fashion designers representative of a particular era, they have transformed from second-hand garments into timeless collectibles.
There has been a recent surge in the vintage market with items being referred to as hard assets. In layman’s terms, the prices of these items are on the rise. With a new niche, mostly fashion forward women who can afford, the value of vintage clothing is quickly gaining reputable recognition. From readily accessible in thrift shops, second-hand gems like Dior, Versace and the like, now cost an arm and a leg in special shops mostly found online. Run by middlemen who take the liberty of hand-picking and restoring vintage items, these online shops cater to specific target markets. For example, a shop dedicated to mod and retro will only feature designer pieces from the 60s and the 70s. It is through this system that -vintage- will never be outdated.
James Walmsley is a marketing assistant at Phix Clothing, a UK-based online retailer which specialises in trendy and fashionable vintage clothing and retro clothing for men and women. All clothes are shipped worldwide.