Power to the People: The True Meaning of Vintage

Vintage clothing is the ultimate expression of individuality. Vintage sellers are those who have fallen in love with vintage and want to work with vintage (as well as eat, drink, sleep it….well, some of us…). Vintage shouldn’t be about big business.

Unfortunately, big business always seems to want a piece of vintage. Displayed clinically, major flaws unmentioned and with designer information taken wholesale from places like the Vintage Fashion Guild label resource with no credit and no genuine research, big business doesn’t see the soul of a dress. It doesn’t feel the bizarre, beautiful touch of moss crepe or the sensuality of draping satin. It doesn’t appreciate the time machine element of an Ossie, instantly transporting you back into the heady days of Marianne, Mick and Anita. It can never understand how a Biba dress will make you skip down the road or how a pair of perfect patent shoes can transfix you for hours.

Perhaps I’m too emotionally involved in vintage for my own good, perhaps I’m an old romantic and a daydreaming thorn in the side of the cynical world of fashion. But that’s why I do what I do, and it’s why all independent vintage sellers do what they do.

Why does a multi-million pound fashion empire like Topshop start selling vintage? Why do they crush the spirit of small business by invading our world? I certainly can’t think of a good reason.

But then why do they also duplicate original vintage clothes and make money out of designers who always put creativity before profit?

(oh the irony that they’re now selling vintage Lee Bender pieces, bearing in mind they shamelessly copied her work for the appalling Kate Moss collection)

I’m resigned to it, I’m far too much a small fish against the mighty shark of big business. But I feel my opinion is valid, and I hope some of you fellow lovers of vintage will agree with me.

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3 Comments on “Power to the People: The True Meaning of Vintage”

  1. Rebecca says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the vintage collections at both Topshop & Miss Selfridge. The worst part is I think I’ve been outbid on a few of the Topshop bits on ebay, and the prices of biba and bus stop especially have shot up since the “archive collection” was opened up. I suppose the only positive part is that going by their prices my vintage collection has probably quadrupled in value!

  2. Hi, I also just discovered the Topshop vintage ‘Archive’ and was equally mortified. I’m also a small scale vintage seller and certainly can’t compete with Topshop’s buying power or their hugely inflated prices. I’m taking comfort in the fact that this is just probably Topshop latching on to a ‘Trend’ and that genuine vintage sellers who adore dealing in Vintage will continue on a long term basis and are less swayed by short term Trends. Love your website too!!

  3. Thank you for the kind words of support! Yes, it’s a double edged sword, bringing vintage into the spotlight again – pushing prices up (if I sold my entire private John Bates collection for the prices they’re charging, I’d be a wealthy woman) but making it so much harder for all of us. Perhaps they’ll become the victims of their own success if the prices start to rise elsewhere? Where will they get their stock from? I can only hope that people start to realise how inflated the prices are and how poorly described they are. They’ve sold an Eighties Mary Quant blouse as Sixties, and have attributed a ‘Peepers’ blouse to Lee Bender/Bus Stop. Ridiculous.


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