Storytelling is a huge buzzword in the industry I work in. As a seasoned English lit grad, this sometimes bugs me – shouldn’t this word be sacred, confined just to books and old yarns told beside a crackling fire? If we’re talking about the ‘narrative’ imparted by a tweet, definitely. But there are exceptions.
I’ve been collecting vintage clothing for around three years now. Like all good stories, it began with a party: the theme was 20s and my outfit options were decidedly limited. In my yearning for authenticity, I became the custodian of an original art deco cape, an impractical velvet affair with shoulder pads (no, Joan Collins wasn’t the first person to rock these) and an ornate yellow-gold lining. Draped over a high-street frock, it felt immediately glamorous, a link to a bygone age when people attended cocktail parties and sipping Tom Collinses, not pints, was the norm.
It might be a rose-tinted view of history, but wearing clothing with its own story, whether this started 35 or 85 years ago, is an addictive, visceral pleasure. Today, we rarely pass our treasures down through families so in a way, acquiring an item that was once meaningful to someone adds another chapter to its story, a new link in a family tree. My sister owns a 1950s fur stole with the original owner’s name still embroidered on the inside. We still laugh about what Edna T. Crabtree would say when we go out.
Its a topic for another blog, but research and the thrill of the chase is also a big incentive. Of course, the internet has made buying vintage from around the world increasingly viable: I own clothing that was once worn by a New Yorker, a cool 1960s Frenchwoman and an Australian lady who stored my dress in her shed for 30 years. Or that’s what it smelled like anyway.
I’ve charted the diaspora of my vintage purchases in a Pinterest map and its an eye opener – take a look on the link below.
What’s the story behind your vintage pieces?