I’ve been thinking about VINTAGE.I’ve recently fallen for the pleasures of Instagram and
# howivintage has become one of my favourite hashtags, it’s got me thinking about how I vintage (is it even a verb??!)
‘Vintage’ isn’t what it used to be, the word retains it’s heritage but it’s been repurposed, much like so much ‘vintage’ stuff.
I’ve been using the term for many years without considering that the word was so removed from it’s origins and yet somehow I appreciated and understood the new variant meaning.
I looked it up in the dictionary and there is no reference to the manner in which I and so many others commonly use it these days. I thought maybe I was just being old fashioned with my paper dictionary and looked it up online for a more modern take on it, still nothing.
I’ve always taken vintage (I’m particularly interested in furnishings here though it goes roughly the same for clothing) to be anything dating from the first half (roughly) of the 20th Century; stuff from the second half of the 20th Century is ‘retro’ and anything pre 20th Century is ‘antique’. I have no idea how I have developed this structure as on investigating all of these terms there are no values given that demarcate them, let alone in the particular way I have held to be true.
Then, thinking more thoroughly on it, to me something ‘vintage’ is an everyday item that through years of use and misuse has gained a rich heritage and authentic character. If it fits my date structure but is high end and still pristine I’d be more likely to bracket it as ‘antique’, if it’s knackered and utilitarian but outside my time bracket I might still consider it vintage. I guess another definition of the term to me would be – vintage is stuff you might find in a junk shop (if you’re lucky) rather than an antiques shop. An absolute for me – for something to be ‘vintage’ it has to have authentic age and cannot be a reproduced item.
Vintage is an aesthetic I have adored all my life, even before my age reached double digits I recall collecting bits and bobs, undesired by anyone else, that had social/personal heritage – knackered saucepans and worn down wooden spoons from elderly aunts, my grandfather’s old tools which I hung on my bedroom walls still with their original cobwebs (and woe betide anyone who cleaned them!)
More recently we converted an old pigsty into our home, the house can’t possibly be ‘vintage’ as the building is mid 19th Century and barn conversions are a very modern phenomenon, but we built all the interiors from reclaimed materials that would mostly fit the bill. I have the odd new(ish) item in my home but even my walls are vintage (reclaimed and age worn wooden beadboard). My colours are vintage inspired (as I draw the line at lead paint with kids in the house) – we took our colours from an old tweed jacket and from matching old paint remnants we found on the reclaimed timbers.
As I look around my home I’m surrounded by ‘vintage’ and have been for so many years, there’s not a photo taken in this house that couldn’t be hashtagged # howivintage and yet my vintage may not be another person’s vintage – it’s such a personal definition.