I’m a bit ‘meh’ about the high street at the moment, yes clothes are fabulously colourful/floral/printed but I’m not really biting. I think it’s because the actual process of buying new clothes is a bit dull compared to the huge amount of fun I am having buying vintage right now.
It’s never been easier to buy second hand clothes in nice condition, what with Anita’s Vintage and Hammersmith Vintage being right on my doorstep and eBay always being close to hand. The sheer excitement of never knowing what you are going to find puts a real kick into the whole process of buying. Since I never really NEED anything, I’m never that prescriptive in my searches, just happy to trawl through everything, admiring a 20s silk drop waist here and a bit of 60s printed rayon there.
I often wonder about what the clothes were up to before they came to be sold, I’m a sucker for a story and last time at Hammersmith I fell in love with some silk shirts from a woman selling her mother’s wardrobe, she told an evocative story of how her mum had huge amounts of fun as an ambassador’s wife in the Middle East going to cocktail parties and entertaining diplomats and had all her clothes made for her, I loved the story and bought them in a heartbeat.
All this is a longwinded way of explaining why Huit Denim Co ‘s new History Tag is such a brilliant idea. Howie’s founders Clare and David Hieatt have set up a new denim company making jeans in Cardigan, a town that used to turn out hundreds of pairs weekly for big UK retailers before the big rush to China. It’s a brilliant thing that they are re employing skilled machinists who have been desperate to sew again since the factories all closed. But the really clever idea the Hieatt’s have had is to embedded a history tag into each new pair.
The idea is that when you buy your jeans, your tag is registered on the website, letting you know who made your pair, then you can upload pictures of you wearing them, so if you hand them on/sell them on eBay there’s already some history attached which everyone can see. They are good quality jeans so will last a long time, they could have an exciting life with many owners.
Imagine how exciting it would be if all vintage clothes could tell their tale this way? You scan the code and up pops a visual history of the garment in an instagram-type feed. Think of a pair of jeans going through the gold rush days turning up in your local vintage fair, complete with pictures (ok that’s being very hopeful but you get my drift) or a dress that had been a favourite through a love affair or been on your first trip to Marrakesh….
I think ALL clothes likely to have a long life (ie well made ones) should think about adding this History Tag idea, so buying vintage clothing gets even MORE exciting. On a serious note it would be good for quality brands as they could still take credit for nice clothes after they have gone off to live their own life, and for the clothes themselves, if the provenance is traceable, its likely the second hand price could be higher.
Meanwhile I’ll just have to imagine the stories behind my vintage purchases and think about buying a pair of Huit Denim Co jeans to start a history of my own.
If your clothes had a history tag, what stories would they tell?
That’s such a great idea – and a great post. Deep down I think my endless rifling through rails of vintage clothes is a search for lost clothes of my youth, or more likely, my lost youth. I often think about certain pieces – Bus Stop printed dresses that travelled with me to Greece when I was 17, airforce blue Biba suede boots for which I queued down Kensington High Street… Fortunately I kept a few talismanic things which my daughters now wear – and I think part of the pleasure that brings me is in seeing another story lived out in the clothes.
Girl after my own heart Ms Hall. A
In a similar vein, Icebreaker (outdoor wear made in New Zealand), has the type of sheep, herd and the farm it was reared on included on their labels!
Oh that’s a really lovely idea Andrea, I love their new New York store, I’ve just written about it for the day job! Nice graphics A