A huge chunk of high street stores have bastardized the term ‘vintage‘. In the eye of the PRs, it seems like vintage can be a design that has been produced a week ago as long as it’s in a grandma-esque floral print.
As far as professionals are concerned, anything designed within the past 15 years is considered contemporary. I believe this should be stretched to at least 20 years considering MC Hammer pants do not come close to my idea of vintage.
Vintage clothing also falls into a seperate group than clothes that are just plain old. While a fifty-year-old dress is absolutely not contemporary fashion, a vintage collector would never yearn for it if it was worn beyond wear and a mass-produced mistake. Thrift and vintage are not one in the same. True vintage has value and generally does not have room for short-lived trends ie. zoot suits, though the longer an item is kept in great condition and the more unique or couture the item is, the more it is worth.
As clothes reach their 100th birthday, they are labelled antique. These pieces tend to be of museum quality as most mass retail pieces will end up looking like old socks by this time.
Vintage couture can be some of the most beautiful works of art and definitely worth searching for – just don’t do so in your local Oxfam.