|Repro Dress from Stop Staring!|
"This Old Thing? Actually, It's New" takes a look a various women who love retro style but tend to wear more current reproduction pieces rather than vintage. This revelation comes as no surprise to me, since I'm a retro-lover who's only owned a few pieces of true vintage clothing. Before I started sewing my clothes, I would rely on retro-fied styles at chains like Anthropologie and Banana Republic to fake a vintage look, along with a healthy topping of actual vintage costume jewelry. Why? One word: fit. Vintage clothes are generally tiny enough that it makes the shopping experience frustrating rather than enjoyable to me. The NYT article acknowledges this challenge as a reason to seek out repro pieces, as well as several others: musty smells, weird holes and stains, and other "charms" of vintage clothing. (Sadly, it doesn't make the leap that some women may choose to sew their own vintage styles as an alternative.)
On the other side of the coin, the article looks at the vintage snob: she who turns her nose up at reproduction clothing. ("Some purists sniff, if not sneer, at the trend.") I think anyone who loves retro is surely familiar with this particular brand of pretension.
But what really interested me was the tone of the piece. The writer sets up repro vintage as a current trend, while interviewing the proprietress of Stop Staring!, who's been selling it for 13 years. They also interview a woman who asks if vintage call really be a trend, since the point is to look timeless. (I'm sure we could go around and around in circles on that discussion!)
The article also briefly dips into the territory of gender relations and retro clothing (which I've discussed here as well):
Ms. von Firley’s hair is cut in a 1920s style Dutch bob, and she is rarely seen in an outfit that isn’t vintage or reproduction vintage. “Men treat me differently when I wear vintage or something that looks vintage,” she said. “I’ve noticed that they open doors and even apologize when they swear, which is so not the case when I’m wearing regular clothes like pants and a sweater.”
Others who wear reproduction fashions said they had similarly enjoyed increased chivalry.Overall, the article is a bit all over the place, as it frenetically tries to decide whether it's a trend piece or a bit of social commentary. Perhaps a more telling slant would have been what, if any, changes are made in the reproduction process. Are the pieces inspired by actual vintage finds? I find it fascinating that repro vintage can start to take on a look of its own, one that's pure mash-up rather than true homage.
Anyway, it's quite an interesting topic to retro-loving seamstresses, I think. After all, we specialize in reproduction! I'm sure some of us would qualify as purists (those who use vintage everything, right down to their notions), while others of us (myself included) make use of vintage patterns, but are more about using contemporary materials to get a retro look.
What is your take on vintage reproduction: old news or a timely trend? Do you consider yourself a purist or a reproducer? Or perhaps something else all together?