Saturday, November 26, 2011

What's in a word: Vintage?

I am referring to textiles.  It really bothers me to listen to a someone talk about selling vintage clothing from the, not the 1880s...the 1980s.  Is an off the shoulder Flash Dance shirt really vintage?

Because a standard has not been established in the antique textile business, it is very important to make sure you understand what you are buying before you buy it.  Maybe you like those Flash Dance shirts, but someone looking for "vintage" probably doesn't. 

Everyone pretty much agrees that "antique" is at least 100 years old.  So when I refer to a textile as an antique, you can be sure I am dating the piece for 1910 or prior.  So is everything else just "vintage"?  Most of the sellers on eBay would like to think so.  They use "vintage" more as a buzzword than an appropriate adjective. 

I have been in the antique textile business since 1999, and was collecting prior to that.  For me, a "vintage" textile should be from the 1920s-1950s.  The textiles from the 1960s and 1970s, I consider "retro".  And anything from the 1980s to present is "contemporary".

I know many dealers will disagree.  Using this language may actually put them from the Vintage Clothing business to the Contemporary Clothing business...doesn't roll off the tongue as easy, does it?  And I guess as long as dealers are explaining their date criteria to their customer up front, I will have to place my tongue in my cheek and hope for an industry standard before I become vintage. 

This is Vintage!!

1 comment:

Andicharkow said...

Dana, I couldn't agree more. As someone who holds Vintage auctions, I sell from Civil war period thru 1960's. After that with the exception of Couture, it belongs in a consignment shop, not in a vintage sale.