“Merci, c’est vintage” – a look at retro fashion – The Varsity


Mod styles, Peter Pan collars, bell bottoms, clogs, vintage styles are making a brilliant comeback.

The “vintage” label itself is distinctly subjective, as its definition varies greatly depending on individual experience. While a sheer ’90s dress might seem vintage to a 2000s girl like me, it naturally would mean something completely different for someone born in a decade before. In a item for The Guardian, Ellie Violet Bramley wrote that “the lines are blurring between occasion and vintage”. The two are sometimes called synonyms.

Whatever the definition of vintage, its popularity with consumers and designers is both undeniable and baffling. But, in light of the changing perceptions and attitudes of fast fashion’s biggest target market, this renewed craze for archaic designs is starting to make sense.

Young adults are particularly concerned about the environment, and Gen Z, in particular, make up a generous proportion of the global fashion consumer population. Respect for the environment and ecological awareness are values ​​that hardly correspond to an industry with such a gargantuan carbon footprint as that of fast fashion. As an estimated 37 kilograms of textiles are thrown away per Canadian each year, people are starting to question traditional vertical production methods.

Ephemeral fashion is therefore subject to the decline of this young and influential population while the thrift store becomes fashionable. As consumers shop for second-hand items, they come across styles of yesteryear, revive their appeal and invigorate them with life. Purchasing ready-made cultivation pieces at a fraction of the original price supports sustainable industry practices and provides an opportunity to show off your intuition and sensibility for fashion.

Of course, the influence of vintage celebrity outfits worn on red carpets cannot be overstated. Many fashion critics argue that Julia Roberts sparked the obsession with secondhand fashion when she wore this iconic Valentino dress in black and white to the Oscars in 2001.

Since then, the stigma surrounding saving has steadily faded. Countless vintage designs have been featured on runways and magazine covers, most notably by British Vogue. Not only is vintage often more affordable and environmentally friendly, it can also be surprisingly glamorous.

The aesthetic aspect of vintage fashion is particularly relevant on Instagram, where individuality is a coveted attribute. There is perhaps no better way to satisfy this pervasive desire to be different from others than to own rare, quirky and vintage clothing. Granted, it’s a weirdly satisfying feeling knowing that no one else in the world could have woken up in the morning and picked out an outfit that’s a copy of yours.

On a deeper level, however, wearing vintage awakens our inner child and allows us to imagine what the world was like when the clothes we now consider old-fashioned were state-of-the-art then. We form secret friendships in our minds with those of old from whom we have inherited our clothes.

As millennials and Gen Z, we may be fantasizing about an era – their era, the ’70s – with a simpler, slower pace of life. Or maybe we just idealize those moments in history that we’ve never had the chance to witness firsthand.


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