Sunday, September 29, 2013

What is Vintage?

Lately, I've been finding myself having to describe in detail what vintage actually is. My customers call and ask about what it is that I do and what I carry. Naturally I describe the process of choosing from my collection of vintage dresses and how we re-work the dress if desired. When I first started my business everyone understood and appreciated the concept. But this last year I've been getting questions like: "Can I get this in a different size?", "Can I order it in a different color?", "Oh, is it used? Has it been worn before?" So then I begin to describe that vintage means it is one of kind (I have one, just one of that style) and it was made earlier than 20 years ago ( but as the years go by this means that the early 90's is classified as vintage! ACK!) I was surprised by the lack of knowledge re: vintage by most young people and then I came to realize than the term vintage has become so generic that the concept is watered down and washed out. For a while designers started phrasing their collection as "Vintage inspired". Even though these styles bore no resemblance to any vintage theme that I could see I accepted their version if they felt it was so inspired. But now it has become such a marketing frenzy that everything is being called vintage when there really is no reference whatsoever.  No wonder people are confused! As someone who works with authentic vintage pieces it is becoming a challenge to distinguish myself from the rest.  Therefore I guess I may be moving into the role as educator - although I am by no means a expert on the history of fashion but I am old enough to remember more than most of you! :)