Antiques and vintage pieces have a really stand-out in the market, nowadays. Besides becoming a trend or a fashion statement, being different and unique is a main goal to a very good percentage of people. And what’s so special about vintage? Well, the piece is at least 20 years old, it’s not produced anymore and it can give a certain flair to your everyday look with a good styling. It’s more than a revival, it’s carrying around something with history and style. It’s individuality, it’s symbolism, it’s peculiar.
Most of the antique collectors look for the money’s value in the piece, but the vintage seeker looks for that special piece to own it and live happily in their closets.
How can we differentiate a piece “wow, it’s vintage” from a piece “oh, it’s vintage”?
Some say it’s about the tag or the brand, others say it’s love at first sight. And we can find old collectible pieces to stand and last in our wardrobe in a lot of places over the world.
But there are so many places to look for, between charity-run second hand clothing shops, consignment shops, garage sales, car boot sales, flea markets, antique markets, estate sales, auctions, vintage clothing shops and vintage fashion, textile or collectables fairs. Everything full of a cluttered display of goods, browsing can get tiresome. So it’s important to investigate and find the place that suits your personal vintage hunger. Because find the perfect piece is not all about the buying, it’s about the hunt too.
London, known as a shopping paradise, has a lot of vintage stores, to explore. The perfect example is Brick Lane, the East London street full of artists galleries and little vintage stores and special markets on the weekend. The secret is to exercise a filter of quality control, find a balance between the price and the piece state. In general the garments are very affordable but it’s usual to find cracked shoe soles and faded fabrics. Let’s face it, conservation is a major plus. And when the store has a mold smell is not a good sign. The sheer quantity of goods here makes up for the occasional poor quality. But you can easily find leather and denim goods, 50’s dresses, retro sunglasses and cool faux fur coats.
Paris, the city of lights, is also known by the vintage stores, but in a different outlook. The stores named boutiques are all about the quality over quantity and you can easily find treasures like Chanel, YSL, Balmain, Laroche and Lacroix. Heritage pieces that survived time and can cost a little fortune for the story and tag it carries. Fashion lovers only come here to splash out for a special occasion or, of course, to slobber about it. You can find party silky dresses, the famous tailleurs (a matching coat and skirt set), a feathered fascinator or a classic designer bag.
In United States of America, pawn shops and thrift shops are more than usual. When it comes to clothes, you can spend happy hours rummaging through the racks, rails, baskets and piles of clothes. The stores tend to have so much stuff that there are infinite guides to shop on these departments. The pieces are usually cheap, but the vintage clothing is mixed with normal second hand clothing, so you really have to do your research. Last year, these kind of places got really popular, thanks to a Macklemore song, the four grammy award winner, called “Thrift Shop”. The chorus “I’m gonna pop some tags/Only got twenty dollars in my pocket/ I’m hunting, looking for a come up/ This is f******* awesome” is sang all over the world. If you pay attention to the song, he criticizes the cost of fashion and he stands for recycling – “ I wear your granddad’s clothes/ I look incredible/ I’m in this big ass coat/ From that thrift shop down the road”, and that’s another good one cause to wear vintage clothing.
There are a lot of celebrities also known by promoting vintage world. The popular burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, is a total pin up from the 40’s and 50’s from head to toe and proud of her taste of vintage pieces and little treasures. Good finds are getting more and more popular and already arrived to red carpet in popular names like Chloe Sevigny, Alexa Chung, Agyness Deyn, Drew Barrymore and Rachel Zoe.
We can only conclude that there’s a big vintage world around with irresistible bargains and treasures. Hunting can be tiring but fun and necessary. And when you find the perfect piece, you’ll know it, like a love story, you never know when can happen but when it does, don’t let go.
ARTICLE FOR ZERO MAGAZINE (UK)