Wednesday, 8 February 2017

What happened to Vintage?

Why, we haven't talked in ages!

Sadly, that's the truth. This blog looks more skimpy than ever before as I've removed posts that I didn't think were adding anything of value. I always wanted this blog to focus on sewing and it started turning into something else entirely. More like an occasional personal blog with sewing related subject matter about nothing significant. As much fun as thrift store shopping is, I kind of get the feeling that nobody wants to read about it. I mean, I've been back to the thrift store about a hundred times since my last "thrift store score" post. If I did these posts consistently the whole blog would act as a diary of my shopping excursions. No, I want to simplify! When it comes to my posts I want quality over quantity.

That doesn't mean, however, that I want to get rid of my Etsy related posts. At least not yet. From a marketing perspective I think it's good to advertise that my shop holds sales events. I'm holding one right now and sales have been mildly successful. By the end of the year I might get rid of these posts, I might even shut the shop down entirely. I still have a number of patterns for sale in my possession, but after researching them through various e-commerce platforms I have found that the patterns in my unlisted inventory are either a) too popular or b) too unpopular. Either I have too much competition or nobody wants what I'm selling. The shop might finish by the end of December depending on sales. If it ends up costing too much to operate the shop, which many Etsy sellers eventually find, then it will definitely have to be shut down. We'll wait and see if that happens and I'll discuss it further when the time comes.

So what happened, anyways? Why did this blog go stale so quickly?

The truth is...the other blog got more attention, because it's more about me as an artist and as an individual, and it also focuses on my everyday fashion. I wear more goth clothing than vintage. This is partly due to the fact that I own more goth clothing than I do vintage. Yet, I own more vintage sewing patterns than goth and alternative ones! I think I've been more comfortable wearing goth and alt clothing. It's easier to coordinate with those styles. Even when I'm not dressing that way, I'm wearing skirts and t-shirts. I'm dressing very casual these days and vintage fashion is usually anything but casual. To be honest, wearing a petticoat daily isn't all that appealing to me. I had gained a lot of weight in the last few years (I have lost it but I am worried it might come back due to a change in diet), it effected my wardrobe planning drastically! You don't want to wear a structured, waist fitted garment when you're bloated and your stomach hurts. Most 50's and 40's silhouettes are pinched at the waist and are accessorized with waist belts and I just couldn't handle anything touching my stomach, it felt awful. I felt awful, I looked it too. That's why knitwear became my best friend. Everything I've been wearing has been knit, especially now because it's still winter here. 

Weddings take up a lot of attention, too (it went well by the way). The wedding had added a significant amount of stress to my life and I think I ballooned up because of that. I put all of my focus on planning the event and writing for the other blog, and I scarcely found any time to commit to Feeling Sew Good. The vintage scene has changed, too. I'm not sure if any of you have noticed but it's not as close knit as it used to be. Rochelle from Lucky Lucille, who was like the Queen of Vintage, dropped vintage two years ago to pursue...casual hipster looking clothing. Her Sew For Victory sew-along brought together mass amounts of vintage sewing enthusiasts, and then it just dropped off. While A Stitching Odyssey still runs a year long pledge, the immediacy of the challenge and vibe is different than Sew For Victory was. Perhaps there's a group of vintage sewing enthusiasts on Facebook, but I can't be bothered to use that site. I just miss the connection with other vintage sewists, much of what I'm seeing in the blogosphere are collector's of vintage fashion and not makers of vintage fashion.

What happened to vintage?

Some time ago, I had read a blog post from another vintage blog where the author was questioning whether or not the vintage trend was "dying out." I think in some ways it has. I believe authentic vintage is becoming less popular while new or reproduction vintage brands, like Hell Bunny and Voodoo Vixen, are still quite successful. Reproduction vintage is still fairly big in the alternative fashion market. Perhaps the desire to buy authentic vintage isn't as popular as it used to be. You gotta figure, authentic pieces became a hot commodity a couple of years ago when the vintage trend hit it's peak, now antique dealers are aware of the fad and are selling pieces at high prices. It's a real score if you can find a vintage dress for cheap. A few years ago I purchased a 60's sun dress for probably around $70 CAD and nowadays it'd likely cost double that (triple if it's coming from America because our exchange rate is garbage). It's too expensive to buy real vintage any more and I'm sure that's impacted the scene substantially. Likewise, authentic vintage fans might be put off by repro or new vintage because the construction and quality is drastically different.

Another thing that might have impacted the growth and longevity of the vintage trend is that not everyone wants to wear the same style for more than a decade (citing Lucky Lucille as an example). 50's fashion doesn't evolve, neither does the music, it has to maintain it's ties to the aesthetics of the era otherwise it's not 50's fashion. Do you get what I mean? It's rather limiting. That's why there's rockabilly and then there's pyschobilly, which was born out of the rockabilly genre but is not in fact rockabilly. In other words, we can create new garments inspired by the 50's but they won't be authentically 50's. If you're interested in going authentic vintage you have to stick to a set amount of aesthetic guidelines in order to be successful. 

Perhaps this is why I mix and match. Going authentic would be too boring and restrictive for me. But I can see why vintage enthusiasts are digging deeper and deeper into the past. A lot of my store search results these days are 1920's and 1930's fashion. 1940's is far more popular than the 50's and 60's combined, and the 70's are ridiculously hot right now. You have to widen your style scope to continue enjoying your vintage wardrobe for years to come. Nobody likes wearing the exact same style for more than a decade, some of us don't even make it a whole ten years. Not to mention not every style suits every body type. Check out this funny vintage advert from one of my old mags, Playtex sums it up!

I suppose what I'm driving at is this: vintage is just as important to me as it used to be but it's not practical for my every day wear and it's not my whole life. I'm going to be sewing a few vintage items this year but I want to pick and choose styles that I can get a lot of use out of. I used to want to do a shit ton of fabulous vintage gowns but it's not realistic nor practical. Where would I wear them??

For my style goals I want separates, in both vintage and my usual style. But more importantly I do want to experiment with different decades, maybe try a few 70's pieces, who knows! I'm planning to make a wiggle dress, some sun dresses, shorts and blouses. I have ideas for the future, but I can't promise that this blog will boast as much posts as my other blog. I can't commit to 5 posts a month on here, that'd be a lot of sewing, but I do want to write more, at least once a month if I can manage. I think it would be good to make a pledge to myself to get these sewing projects done, for the sake of my stash and for the sake of my sanity!

What are your thoughts on vintage? Is it still a big deal to you or has your style evolved?

Happy sewing! ♥