Saturday, 31 October 2009

What is vintage?

I have a bit of a problem with the word. Not that long ago, people might have applied it to wines or cars or perhaps a fondly remembered year of some moment. It suggested prestige and worth, and not a little (implied) snobbery.

Nowadays, vintage is a marketing term applied to anything over approximately five years old, and especially clothing. What was once called 'secondhand' and was the resort of the seriously cash-strapped who couldn't afford anything better (meaning shiny and new) is now dubbed 'vintage' and gains a gloss of desirability and glamour.

Its too late now to rein it in - I use it liberally myself for selling purposes but always with a twinge of conscience, aware that I'm being a teensy bit cowardly and dishonest by employing a term that still seems to me to deserve better somehow.

The plain fact is that no-one is going to buy a 'second-hand Marks & Spencer blouse' or even an 'old Marks & Spencer blouse' (with its unpleasant connotations of decrepitude and decay) but they might seriously consider a 'vintage Marks & Spencer blouse.'

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