Bringing Bohemian Glamour from Decadent Decades Past!
Time & time again I’m asked “What’s with all these ‘Vintage’ shops?” mainly by men might I add ….seems they just don’t get it!!!
Well I’ll try to explain. The word Vintage actually derives from an old French word meaning the gathering of wine, (which you probably sussed that one out. Vin = Wine!) and over the centuries, it was used to describe wine of a very good crop ie: a good year ‘a vintage year’ The word then was used as an adjective to describe quality items produced in a year of the past! Hence the Vintage car!
Vintage clothing shops have been around for years, let me tell you, my friends and I were buying vintage clothes in the seventies, in those days you could pick up some amazing pieces from the 30’s for a song.
I must admit there were not as many vintage shops around as there are now, but you could certainly pick up some great pieces in markets & junk shops. The ‘Army & Navy Stores’ was a great favourite too, I would spend hours reworking pieces to emulate Bryan Ferry’s backing singers……….
Artists & creatives have always turned to vintage clothing for inspiration, originality & romanticism , but Vintage has never been so “In Vogue” as the last 10 years.
You will probably accredit this to ‘Vintage Queens’….. Kate , Naomi , Dita , Sarah-Jessica, Florence & co . for the trend to mirror the ‘unique’ appearance of these so called ‘Celebrities’, but I think that in mad mad world of mass consumerism there are so many like myself that can not abide this disposable life we find ourselves embroiled in!
We as Vintage Dealers are appreciative of beautiful, quality garments and have an innate urge to preserve this sector of history, we love the social history of fashion & costume and most of us are romantics at heart! We are in the Vintage business for the passion of it, its an addiction! We will spend our last penny on that ‘Piece’, that we convince ourselves, ‘we will never, ever see again if we don’t buy it now! It will evaporate into extinction!!!’
There are of course those that are in the ‘Vintage’ business merely for profit and profit only, they will call their second hand wares “pre-loved” “retro” & “designer” I have no objection whatsoever to this, its all in the name of recycling, but please don’t cut out the Primark labels & tag the item “vintage”!
There are also many “Cash for clothes” business’s opening on high streets up & down the country, these are places where you take in your unwanted clothes and they will weigh them and give you a small payment for your clothing (I must add they are becoming quite choosy at what they will actually take.) These clothes are exported and sold abroad. These outlets are a business not a charity.
Many vintage clothing shops are mobile, travelling all around the country, relying on the ever growing amount of weekend ‘Vintage Fairs’ (market stalls) as an outlet, thus avoiding the heavy expense of overheads in a shop, this can be a full time job, some do this to supplement their on-line shops eBay, Etsy etc. and some merely do it as a Hobby.
Some outlets are small units under one roof, calling themselves Bazaars or Emporiums, these provide a good variety & choice of clothing as well as bric-a-brac , antiques & up-cycled furniture
Vintage shops vary in their specialty, there are the shops that keep to an era or genre, for example there is a huge following for 40’s revival events, The Goodwood Revival, being a main one, this is an annual Vintage Motor Racing event where attendees are encouraged to wear dress from the 40’s to 60’s, many shops will specialize in these events. There are many outlets catering for sub-cultures,such as electro swing, rockabilly etc, and there are general vintage shops who’s main clientele would probably be students and young clubbers, festival-goers and the like.
[Remember vintage shops are NOT charity shops, we BUY our stock which is HAND PICKED – We are self employed, & have overheads (No subsidised rents & rates & volunteer staff for us!) It takes Time, Money, Effort, & Knowledge to seek out these pieces. – So when you are on the ‘charity shop run’ and arrive in our little shops of treasure thinking you’ve won the jackpot – please get the ‘Charity shop/carbootsale’ mindset out of your head, & don’t expect to pay £5 for a 1940’s tea dress…it’s not going to happen !!!]
My own shop Mooshy La La has the ethos of ‘Bohemian Glamour’ influenced by Biba of the 60’s/70’s, I carry an authentic collection of 20’s/30’s dresses & costume jewellery. There are many specialist Vintage home ware shops too, (a favourite of mine, Bonny & Blythe here in South Liverpool) as the trend for traditional afternoon teas continue to flourish.
Of course I must also mention Charity shops/ thrift shops. Many of us will recall the days of being able to happily rummage through the jumble of chaotic & somewhat smelly charity shops run by old ladies who would give you a price off the top of their blue rinsed head, for that bundle of velvet satin & lace attire you had excitedly exhumed from the tatters. Sadly not any more, shiny and as sleek as any high street boutique, overseen by austere professionals you will rarely find a vintage treasure here, all have been siphoned off and put on eBay and anything remotely thought to be “Vintage” will carry a price tag to make you squint with disbelief! (Thank you Mary Portas)
The one thing we all have in common in this mad world of Mass Consumerism, is….. we RECYCLE!
Did you know……… Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated £30 billion worth of unworn clothes lingering in their wardrobes! The textile industry discharges about 300,6000 tons of COD and contributes to 8.2 percent of COD pollution in China. (The chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic compounds in water.)
A large number of overseas-produced clothes are made out of factories in people’s homes, where homeworkers living in single-room slum dwellings with their families struggle to complete as many pieces as they can. Often children help their parents to do the intricate beadwork, perhaps because their little fingers are nimble, and they have better eyesight, but also because the more pieces finished, the more money will come in. Apparently the machines that can do this sort of work are extremely expensive and must be purchased by the garment factory, which is unlikely if cheaper hand labour is available.
The fast fashion business model is built on selling high volume of cheap products that are marginally marked up, meaning that stores have to sell a lot in order to profit, so they’ll do anything to keep people buying. Perpetuating a constant sense of dissatisfaction with the level of one’s trendiness is a example that’s shown to work.
MY MANTRA: Buy Vintage, buy new from independent designer boutiques, or rework pieces if you’re handy at sewing . There are plenty of alternatives out there, as long as you’re willing to turn away from the addictive ease of fast fashion shopping.
Just a tiny glimpse to the vast amount of collectable
vintage treasures available in Mooshy La La …
(For a look inside Mooshy La La & Contact information please click onto MOOSHY LA LA )