I love it when our in-house vintage expert Julie Ghatan writes an exclusive for SCS. And that’s why Ruby Warrington’s piece about the trendiness of vintage gave me pause. In her piece for the Sunday Times Warrington asserts that the days of rummaging through thrift stores and specialty shops for vintage pieces are over. What’s replacing the ritual? While vintage has gotten so overdone (everybody’s sick of it, she reports) the hardcore collectors are calling their finds "archive pieces." "Serious collectors are using a new term, “archive”, to describe favourite old pieces. Paul Sexton, co-owner of and buyer for Koh Samui boutique, says there is an important distinction between the two. “Vintage has come to describe all the stuff from the 1970s and 1980s,” he says. “Earlier ‘archive’ pieces are older, and therefore much more rare and special.”
Well, vintage or archived isn’t this the real "green" movement, ahem. To preserve and wear what’s already been done? Duh…
Is it finally all over for the fashion trend of the decade, asks Ruby Warrington
At some point in the early nineties, something happened to our wardrobe vocabulary. Vintage — a term more often applied to wine and cars — became the smuggest word in fashion. Compliment a woman on her outfit, and you could expect a wry smile that implied: “You know you want it, but you just can’t have it.” Vintage meant you had found it yourself by truffling it out in an obscure junk shop or underground fashionista jumble sale. It said: “I am an original — an individual — not a catwalk clone.” And so it has remained. Until now.
The truth is that vintage has become a victim of its own success. These days, every other shop on Brick Lane in East London is stuffed with Identikit cowboy shirts and print dresses. Rokit, which started out as a one-off vintage shop, is now a high-street store in its own right, with four London branches. Yet, far from looking original, vintage is now a wardrobe staple of every Oxford Street wannabe. When high-street stores such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Urban Outfitters jumped on the bandwagon by launching instore vintage boutiques, it was only a matter of time before demand outstripped supply and prices soared. Bagging bargains used to be part of the fun, but now even the most mediocre vintage finds fetch silly money.
But enough, it seems, is finally enough. Miss Selfridge has scaled back its vintage offerings (“Customers were just starting to turn up their noses at it,” says one insider), and Oasis has phased out its New Vintage range for this season to make way for its Little Black Dress collection. “It’s become so passé to say that something’s vintage,” says one fashion PR, who wishes to remain anonymous. “Everybody has been banging on about vintage this and vintage that for so long, it just got really boring.”
It’s not just at street level that vintage is losing its allure. High fashion hasn’t looked so forward since Miuccia Prada made us all fall for nylon back in 1997. “Look at Balenciaga’s Tron girls and Marc Jacobs’s plastic-effect romantic dresses,” says Yasmin Sewell, buying director for Browns. “This season is all about stepping out of the shadow of archive pieces and not being afraid of doing something different.” After years of 1960s-, 1970s and 1980s-inspired collections, new ideas from the likes of Gareth Pugh and Nicolas Ghesquiãre are making headlines. John Galliano, with glorious ego, describes his fêted cruise collection as “a crusade for new icons, a new force to drive fashion forward”. This from a man who has a made a career from reinventing the past….for the full scoop go to the London Times…–Joanne Molina for Second City Style