Second hand shops are known for such things as those one in a million, special accessories or that scarf that everyone comments on but can never replicate.
However, with shops such as Rokit and Absolute Vintage taking cities by storm and becoming actual chains, it seems unfair to consider purchases from these kinds of shops as ‘one offs' or ‘vintage' as they seem to have adopted this new craze and absorbed the original fun people once would associate with second hand bargains. One cannot rifle through the stock, looking for hidden treasure, not knowing what they might find, with the same enthusiasm they would share for rummaging through your grandma's wardrobe or the fancy dress box when you were young. All the garments and accessories have been blocked in colour, style or price. Despite this being an obvious convenience in matter of time, it strips the second hand shopping excitement away and puts you right back in the same unexpectant pace you would reserve for perusing through the H&M rails on your local high street. The prices are certainly in a similar bracket – second hand bargains, nowadays, are few and fair between.
Where does this obsession with dressing as though you are a throwback from another era? Surely one should embrace new and original trends, or perhaps these in themselves are things of the past.
Music could be held responsible for this new Vintage phase. Whilst some people have always donned their second hand clothing, without an extra thought, now people are opting for it – not for the cheapness or the often-charitable contribution, but for the ever changing and ever expanding label of ‘fashionable'. The early eighties saw Joy Division, explode as a post punk band. The nineties was met with bands such as Oasis and Pulp, known for their quirky, individual and often scruffy sense of style. Now, with more Indie bands than ever before, clothing is perhaps seen as even more important in order to differentiate one guitar playing, long haired college boy from his peers. It is considered acceptable, if not preferred, to be seen looking a bit rough around the edges. Clothing is tight but often ripped or distressed in some way in order to create the vintage look even if it is just bought from a high street store. Shops like Topshop are launching vintage sections and have even taken to introducing a car boot, shambolic appearance to areas of their shop in order to appear ‘old', therefore ‘new'.
However, with vintage shops becoming more commercial and people dressing more and more messy, it begs the question of when the inevitable time will come when a fashion icon decides to clean up their act and for the rest to follow suit. Russell Brand, is renowned for his huge, untidy hairstyle. Rumours of a mouse having actually lived in there seems to not discourage people from this new take on grunge, but to embrace it and imitate it. This kind of fashion seems, like other trends, unlikely to sustain the test of time due to the fickle views of the consumer and society. Vintage fashion is becoming far too commercial, which is a word used to least describe it ten years ago. Becoming mainstream is usually considered a positive thing, however, it then enters the category of ‘fads', and we all know they never last. With vintage fashion currently being so high on the fashion radar, it could be speculated that there is only one way to go from here….