The word vintage can cause a serious debate nowadays, all depending on your company. To some it’s the idea of couture and nothing less, whereas for others it’s a unique find while bargain hunting off the beaten track.
However vintage branding to a lot of people is a fancy adjective to pawn off second hand goods, which is unfortunately the case in some shops. But Dublin itself has a buzzing vintage scene, that attracts not only hipsters but a range of individuals from brides looking for bargain couture gowns to people going that extra mile for a more alternative look.
Jenny Vander is the original vintage shop and is a treasure trove of unique handmade clothes from different eras. The clothes themselves have their own history. How often is it possible to say you own a dress that’s older that your parents, and is still in immaculate condition?
Marion Sullivan from Jenny Vander explains what she would class as vintage and her opinion of how vintage is a new buzz word.
“Vintage is normally 1950’s or older, really anything over 100 years is antique, but anything younger than the 1950’s is at it’s very best retro, so even very cool 70’s, 80’s and even 60’s is retro, more recent stuff is second hand.
“Vintage is a buzz words in the last few years, a lot of places are throwing it around and the thing is that people don’t know what is vintage and their not informed. People think that’s 80s era is vintage because it says it in the books but it’s not.”
For anyone who hasn’t been inside Jenny Vander go even if it’s only to stare at the amazing selection of clothes – each era is represented. The shop itself had me in awe of the clothes, it was like a treasure chest of forgotten icons.
“It’s beautiful to be able to wear a piece of history which has been cherished and is unique to you, no one will have anything like the piece that you have; it’s got the history and beautiful craftsmanship. What you’re buying is handmade couture,” said Marion.
“If I’m being honest my favourite era is the 1920’s, the dresses were so beautiful and original, also the Victorian era, as nearly all the clothes are handmade and the materials were the best money could buy. The Victorian clothes here would have come from aristocrat or wealthy families. Back then it wasn’t like now where we can all afford nice things even though we would be considered the working class. The Victorian clothes are similar to the early style of Downton Abbey, all original and completely handmade with silk, it’s really unbelievable couture.”
However the revival of vintage into everyday wear means that younger generations are putting their own spin on these historical pieces.
“Young girls are still doing their own thing going out by themselves putting their look together with whatever they want that’s in fashion at the moment but there still putting the more unusual pieces with it and I think that’s the way to got with fashion,” said Marion.
“Vintage is being brought into the modern era and funked up a bit. My advice for vintage style would be to walk the walk in your own shoes and don’t follow the crowd.”
The revival of vintage clothing comes with a sense of individuality especially in Dublin fashion at the moment. However is it possible that the uniqueness of clothing item is vintage itself?
“ I think that vintage is open to interpretation, in my own philosophy it’s clothing from a different era or a somewhat special piece,” said Fiona Smith from The Harlequin.
The Harlequin is another of the original vintage shops in Dublin, just off Drury street, both floors of the shopped are filled with not only different era pieces, but vintage designers pieces that inspired former seasonal trends.
“We’re selling one off pieces , not only stuff from different eras but more unique clothing. I think it is trendy at the moment to wear vintage and a lot of people are wearing it, but it comes in waves. We’ve been in it so long, but it’s a matter of taste. Some people have never worn vintage and never will. It’s a different case for different customers and a lot of people who wore it for years will always wear it,” explained Fiona.