Is vintage getting sh*t? July 18 2013

     As we watch the 'retro' and 'vintage' become a mainstream trend, horrible things begin happening, and despite our immunity to sea-sickness, our Piratey tummys have a little wobble as if we just saw a neon navajo printed wifebeater. Things like expensive 'vintage' sections in charity shops (wheres the treasure hunting !?), and worst of all, the imitation vintage.
On the one hand there is the crass inauthenticity which I dislike, but pirates aren't going to begin pointing fingers on that subject. No, I'm afraid we're going here...surely the main part of buying vintage, is that IT IS VINTAGE. You are recycling, making a more ethical purchase. Hence why the organic/green/retro began legitimately unified before becoming hobbies of middle class people knitting tampons.

There may well be some arguments on the side of using cheap labour an manufacturing in developing countries to mass produce clothing. But its hard to ignore the unease when you consider a cheap T-shirt requires 15 bathtubs of water* to grow, many hours of people's time spent in miserable conditions earning very little, all for it to end up in a landfill a few months later, kind of sucks the enjoyment out of buying clothes.

This isn't just some hippy cr@p, buying vintage evades the guilty politics that just shouldn't apply to dressing yourself.

     Or the belittling corporate politics either. Take a look at H&M's latest scheme to increase profits; fake recycling.
"Give H&M Your Old Clothes, Get a Discount"
A PR redemption tactic to counter act when "(H&M's) unsold inventory was shredded and left for trash on a New York City street."
So they give you a minute discount when you give them a bag of your old clothes, which they make a profit from the resale of, and are only doing it to get you to shop there more, and manufacture more clothes. Despite already being the worlds largest consumer of organic cotton*, and the worlds largest producer of bland dressers.

     So happy shopping is on the side of vintage, there's also the quality factor. Clothes made before contemporary mass manufacturing were of better quality. As my grandmother never fails to remind me- when she used to sew clothes for Marks and Spencer (as part of what she refers to as 'the original cheap labor force") if the label was even slightly wonky, or a single hang cotton, the item would be sent returned to you and started again from scratch, minus the pay. Stuff was well made.

     Clearly, look at how long vintage clothing has lasted. We are still wearing garments that are over a hundred years old, while cheap mass produced stuff falls apart before the season is up. And then you throw it out. And then you feel guilty and resort to wearing only beige for the rest of your life.

    So, decent people of the world don't let it freak you out that vintage is "in". This doesn't stop The Pirates bringing you only interesting, quality treasures. Everyone else, you can find your Levi cut off shorts in your distressed wardrobe inside your shabby chic life, and H&M clothes go in the blue bin...

 

 

 

 

 

 

* http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-27/give-h-and-m-your-old-clothes-get-a-discount