Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fashion Opinion: This Old Thing. My Relationship To Vintage

Vintage opinion

This week my highlight will be Vintage shopping in Birmingham. I'm quite excited and scared at the same time because vintage in my childhood usually meant that I had to wear the old clothes from my sister. Luckily times have changed and vintage has now become fashionable.

You might remember Channel 4's vintage show with the charming Dawn O'Porter. Not so long ago, she hosted a clothing show called 'This Old Thing'. In the programme, she showed how to up-cycle clothes and re-use sustainable fashion for the longer lasting joy of your wardrobe and how to create unique pieces that stand out from mass-produced fashion garments.

|Vintage Clothing: A Cultural Thing?|


Like many of Dawn's candidates in the show, I'm a bit reserved about vintage. I think the biggest mental issue I have to overcome to give vintage a chance is my cultural upbringing. It is marked by the German GDR times, which has shaped most of my understanding of values and morals. During the cold war, my country was separated (similar to today's North and South Korea) into the West and the East zone. The West was occupied by the British and Americans so the economy flourished and westerners always had the latest fashion, were allowed to travel anywhere in the world and lived in an abounding consumerism.

West and East Berlin

The East (GDR), was occupied by the Russians (the Soviets) and people were kept in the country. My parents had no rights to travel anywhere, except for Poland and Hungary, hence why they lived off very little. The East was also marked by a high inflation, so the little money they had was actually worthless. My parents never had a choice and today's overflow of variety sometimes exhausts them. I barely remember the actual times, but I still have many GDR traits that shaped my character. For example be grateful for what you have or live of little and be modest. The biggest impact the GDR had on me is on my clothing behaviour.

|My Behaviour Towards Clothes Is Shaped By My Past|


People rarely had anything back in the days. Clothes were passed on from generations. I was at the end of the family food chain and barely got new clothes as a kid. I had to wear the discarded outfits from my sister. The few clothes we had, needed to be cared for to last as long as possible. This behaviour is still in me. When I buy a pair of shoes, it needs, ideally, last for the next 20 years. Same with dresses and shirts. I use extra delicate washing powder, let my clothes air outside and iron them to keep the fabric smooth and lasting. I find it very disturbing, that m British do not look after their clothes properly and instead of using efficient ways to preserve their dresses, shirts and blazers, they rather run into the next High Street shop and spend their hard earned money on new stuff every single season.

Knowing the amenities of modern society including free travelling and fashion galore, I still end up buying a lot of things. My parents always complain about me and remind me of the old days. 'Think about the days, when we had nothing and now, you're wasting so much money' or 'You should be more grateful about the things you have now. Back in the day, we had nothing.' Buying every season is eco-unfriendly and wasting is frowned upon in German society. That's why selling and swapping platforms such as kleiderkreisel (vinted.co.uk) and ebay kleinanzeigen (gumtree.com for furniture) are massive and popular at home. Germans can't let go of the past and have to re-use anything.

What's vintage what's primark?

|The Meaning Of Vintage|


I'm getting a bit off topic now, so coming back to vintage I get the impression many girly bloggers only know vintage as 'something looks cool because it is old' but I don't know if they get the true meaning of it. Vintage is unique, but it means also sacrifice and demands respect rather than to be marked as a fashionable trend. Vintage to me meant for a long time wearing my sisters clothes (she has a terrible fashion sense) and I've actually never been into a real vintage shop, simply because I'm overwhelmed by the diversity and the endless rummaging you could end up with in these shops. I like clear and neatly laid out fashion shops and I'm aware I miss out on great pieces that wait in the Vintage boutiques. I'd like to change my clothing behaviour and attitude towards it, like Dawn achieved it in the show with her candidates. I've decided to give it a try and I'll be going to the Vintage Kilo Sale on Saturday in Birmingham. I hope to find some treasures. Wish me luck!

Have you been to a Vintage Kilo Sale before? What is your view on vintage? Do you prefer vintage over the high street?

Till next time,

xx CAZ xx

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