This Old Thing: back to the future for fashion

this old thing dawn o'porter

Dawn O'Porter  Image credit: Channel 4

Being vintage aficionados for more years than we care to remember, and having worn 60s, 70s and 80s clothes with pride the first time around (when we were younger, thinner and rather more dedicated followers of fashion), it was disappointing to read some of the cutting reviews of the first episode of Channel 4's homage to vintage and second hand fashion, This Old Thing, presented by Dawn O'Porter.

We would say that, wouldn't we? Nevertheless, we  find ourselves driven to disagree with the snooty put downs about the "predictability" of the show, the clothes, the presenter and the concept by mass media, which, one and all, depend on fast fashion corporations for advertising revenue in these straitened economic times. The "predictability" of vested interests, you could say.

We are not ashamed to admit that we enjoyed the programme, tweeted enthusiastically about it along with some virtual vintage loving chums and saw our website traffic spike to 50% more than its daily average.  Although we didn't rate a mention (nor did we expect to as a micro mini vintage outfit in the sticks), we were happy to receive collateral crumbs of interest via the search engines from many new visitors, whose interest  in vintage had clearly been piqued by the programme.

Wall to wall sport elsewhere probably had something to do with it, too, but far be it from us to criticise the "predictability" of fit blokes chasing a ball around a field, or hitting a smaller one back and forward over a net. Each to their own! Even if our Andy is defending his Wimbledon title, it won't get exciting until much later in the competition, so we'll stick to old frockery for now.

We found Dawn's efforts to convert fast fashionistas into lovers of all things retro laudable, but the initial negative reactions of the young contemporary case studies was testament to the cult of disposability that now permeates our society. One wonders if these same people have a similar phobia of sleeping in hotel beds with their second hand mattresses and sheets. Have they not heard of washing machines or dry cleaners? Do they even possess a needle and thread, or know how to stop a ladder in the tights with a spot of clear nail varnish?

While we're at it, why not mention the war? Back in the old days, without any mod cons, our mothers and grandmothers looked after their (relatively few) clothes to prolong their lifetime out of necessity and all had the skills to do so. Hell, even the chief frocker learned how to darn a sock and turn a heel on four pins (she kids you not!) at school in the early 70s before gratefully dropping domestic science (at which she did not excel) in favour of Latin. It is deeply concerning to see how the old values of thrift, make-do-and-mend and quality have since been supplanted by mass production of trashable fast fashion. We have written about this before - see Slow fashion: winning the race for hearts and minds?

Even buying high end high street won't guarantee someone else won't turn up in the same frock, so if you want to be unique you really need to embrace the new / old paradigm and look back to the future! Shopping vintage and preloved, making and altering your own clothes and using your imagination to create an individual look that is not dictated by fast fashion brands is, frankly, a no brainer, so we old frockers welcome This Old Thing and will continue to value our own old things, look after them and wear them on a daily basis.

We like to think we are part of the revolution that is second-handedly saving the planet (and the wallet) in style. As we keep banging on, why buy new when it's more fashionable, frugal and eco-friendly to go retro?

Still doubtful? Here are a few of our 'old things' on a young and beautiful model. For more examples and inspiration, take a look at our Frockery Fashionistas section, and why not consider entering our next Eco Fashion Challenge?

juuli

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Photographer Oliver Schneider captured these stunning images of Juuli Vaajaniemi in some of our vintage frockery: a little black 40s cocktail dress (bought in a charity shop 10 years ago) and a 60s ivory silk sequinned two piece (pre-owned by a former model). Hair and make up by SC MakeUp Artistry,

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