Designers repeatedly make use of the last decades of fashion, such as the sixties and seventies, and borrow from them for their current collections. But why wear a “custom-made” model when there are great originals too? Thanks to the current vintage hype, it is easier than ever to get original pieces from 1920 to 1980.
The trend towards sustainability is certainly one of the reasons why second-hand and vintage fashion are booming. Many fashion fans consciously want to rely on good quality and workmanship – which can easily last for several decades and are not thrown away after a season. We asked retro expert Ursula Wagner, who runs her own vintage label with “Fräulein Kleidsam” and who created the “Vintage” salon in Vienna, a trade fair for fashion from back then.
Vintage shops are currently booming. Is second hand the same as vintage?
No, unfortunately the word is often used incorrectly. Usually a dress has to be at least 20 years old before it can be called “vintage”. For us experts, everything from 1920-1980 falls into this category. Second hand is the fashion of the last ten to fifteen years. An original outfit, for example from the 1960s, can definitely only be found in a good vintage store i.e ZAPAKA France a robe vintage pin-up.
How can you tell the difference between a real vintage and a newly designed retro part?
In the 1950s and 1960s, bespoke clothing Robe Année 50 was still a common way of making dresses. The cuts of these individual pieces are correspondingly complex. The quality of the fabric, the high-quality workmanship and the prints are another indication of the originality. Beware of synthetic fabrics, they first appeared in the 1960s. When it comes to synthetic fibers, often only experts can tell the difference to a counterfeit retro part. My tip: with an original, love is often in the details. The silhouette of the models from the 60s is often copied, but refined details that make the dress appear particularly effective are usually missing in industrial goods! If you shop online, you should also pay attention to the term “original”. If the article says “Vintage inspired” or “Retro” it is definitely not an original.
What else do I have to look out for when buying?
In any case, check carefully whether a dress has stains or holes. Small defects are often pointed out, but unfortunately not always. If necessary, just negotiate a discount. You have to be even more careful with goods that you buy online. If an article says “excellent condition” it means that there are no defects. “Good condition” means “ no small or any defect”, “Condition should be okay for the age” actually means “defects exist, but are not listed”. Be sure to ask whether I can clean and iron the dress myself or whether I always have to bring it to the dry cleaner. That can make a huge difference financially. A cheap dress can quickly become expensive in the long run.
Why are vintage clothes sometimes so expensive when they are already “old” and used?
These are rare, well-preserved, high-quality, textile antiques. Often they are individual pieces that have been painstakingly restored, which is then also reflected in the sales price.
How do I properly care for vintage fashion?
Washing machines with a gentle program already do a lot, but always ask a specialist cleaning service in an emergency. If in doubt, it is better to have your clothes cleaned. Many online platforms are now also exchanging ideas about the right care tips. My tip for old clothes with unpleasant smells is vodka. Simply spray it on and let it air out. That works great!
What can I invest in with a clear conscience?
In principle, I can always spend more money on very well-preserved goods or designer items. In the case of the 1960s, vintage dresses by designers were particularly popular. Such a designer piece can quickly cost several thousand euros. With not so well-known labels, you should pay attention to the materials and high-quality workmanship.