Tales of Vintage Clothing Murder – To Cut or Not to Cut?
I am a member of the Vintage Fashion Guild. The VFG is a professional organization for sellers, journalists and curators of vintage fashion. The wealth of knowledge amongst its members is truly astonishing. If you are a vintage afficianado, I highly suggest you spend some time on their message boards or reading one of their many resources. You do not have to be a member to join the conversation – you can participate as a “friend”.
A question was recently posed by a friend about cutting up vintage garments. I am going to stay very neutral, so bear with me. The VFG and its members, which includes me, does not promote the permanent alteration of vintage garments.
Some argue that some vintage is worth more than others and much of the most current vintage, meaning stuff from the 70s, is massed produced and would never really become all that collectible.
I know there are many vintage wearers who do permanently alter vintage dresses, especially the length, in an effort to make it more wearable in today’s times. The problem is that essentially, you are damaging a potential piece of fashion history. As a self-proclaimed vintage expert, I feel I have the knowledge of what is potentially collectible and what is not. But what about the poor girl who hacks off the bottom of a Biba maxi in order to make it modern? It makes me faint just thinking about it.
And then there are people that I just want to shake…
and the original…
I know, I know — it’s not like it’s a New Look dress from the ’50s. But just because you wouldn’t wear a caftan, even a Dior one, doesn’t mean it should be hacked to death. What’s going to happen in 30 years, when ’70s clothing will become the equivalent of today’s ’20s flapper and ’30s chiffon dress — highly coveted but rare? Will we loathe the day we decided to take scissors to the hemline of a collectible piece, before we knew it was collectible?
With all due respect to E2, Michele Meunier and Olivier Chatenet, a Parisian design team, and CoutureLab.com, I get that they are trying to breathe new life into an old garment. Maybe I’m just looking at this too much as a historian and not through the eyes of a fashionista.
And go ahead and call me a label whore, but I can’t help but wonder if murdering or at least mutilating desirable vintage names like Dior is worth it. Is this a crime against fashion history?