Vintage fashion: bringing back old school glamour

When you buy vintage, you breathe new life into fashion, a fashion that once upon a time was outdated and unwanted. But now, vintage and retro clothing has become timeless – a clear advantage against the come-and-go trends of the high street.

In the past year, vintage has made its mark on the fashion industry. Among the celebrities, Kelly Osbourne, Alexa Chung and Lily Allen are just three famous faces who strut their stuff in old-school glamour. The latter even opened her own vintage boutique in London last year.

But even among the general public, vintage has sky-rocketed in popularity, and perhaps nowhere more so than across the Bournemouth area. On the first Saturday of each month, the Boscombe Vintage Market on Boscombe Crescent plays host to a mishmash of vintage treasures. Among the stalls selling artwork, handcrafted knick-knacks and scrumptious treats are stands plentiful with retro clothing and accessories.

Founder and Boscombe Project Officer Sally Coulson told BHbeat: “Our vintage market showcases one-off pieces and rarities. It provides visitors with an opportunity to purchase something that cannot be found at a chain store in its thousands.

“It also provides a one-of-a-kind range of quality clothing that is environmentally responsible, whilst embracing trends in history that lasted and worked well.”

As of September, the monthly Vintage Market will be moved to the historical Royal Arcade in central Boscombe for the winter, but will return to Boscombe Crescent in the summer of next year.

However, for those who can’t wait a whole month to add a vintage label to their wardrobe, there are a number of vintage shops dotted about Pokesdown, Westbourne, Winton and Bournemouth – all offering wide selections of clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories from as far back as the 1920s. Here you can read latest news in Bournemouth about Bournemouth’s new Vintage Quarter.

There are handbags from Beau, dresses and trinkets from What Alice Found, and its accessories galore at Arthur and Martha’s.

Leah Austin, owner of vintage boutique Vintage Per Sempre, told BHbeat: “People like the idea of clothes being original. So when they want a style of the fifties, they can actually go for the original ’50s dress rather than something that’s in the high street.”

On the whole, it seems second-hand, vintage clothing is not inferior to newly designed high street attire. In fact, what vintage shops offer are quality (and often unique) garments and accessories from the bygone days of the Twentieth Century. They can change the personality of an outfit from modern mundanity to vintage vogue.

Leah commented: “I think people really like the idea of having a one-off piece. A lot of vintage is handmade, so nobody else is going to have it. And I know people really like that – the idea that what they’re wearing has got a story behind it.”

Sally Coulson has a similar view to shopping vintage. She said: “You can get your hands on a classic, timeless piece, or find unique clothes that can set yourself apart from the mainstream.

“You are not buying new or mass-produced clothing; you’re recycling historic trends with a story behind them. In fact, it’s part of the area’s social history.”

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