Backstory On The Birth Of Vintage

September 5, 2015

I really enjoy the public radio show Backstory, about American history. It’s hosted by three genial college professors from Virginia, and each episode explicateds a theme. A great recent show was about fashion in American history. There were fascinating segments on the Zoot Suit Riots (which might more accurately be called the Sevicemen’s Riots) and on the acceptance of beards in American culture… but the most interesting might have been the one that told the story of the birth of vintage clothing.

It happened when a bohemian couple in New York in the 50s were at a dinner party, talking about raccoon-fur coats, which had been a fad among college men in the 20s. They’d acquired one at a thrift store, and a few people at the party wanted one for themselves. Soon, they’d bought a warehouseful, which had sat unsold for thirty years. 

Not long after that, a magazine feature on the trend appeared, and the fad sprang forth anew. The couple became the first vintage dealers in the United States – selling old clothes not despite their age, but because of it.

The whole story is above, and it’s fascinating.

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