Vintage clothing is a generic term for new or second hand garments originating from a previous era. The word vintage originates from its use wine terminology, and when used to describe garments, it conveys as a more elegant-seeming euphemism for “old” clothes. Clothing from the 1920s to 1980 is considered vintage. Retro, short for retrospective usually refers to clothing that imitates the style of a previous era.
Vintage clothing can sometimes be obtained from older friends and relatives. Some people store pieces of fashion for long periods of time and this way clothes are passed on from one generation to the other.
There has also been an increasing interest in environmental sustainability in terms of reusing, recycling and repairing rather than throwing things away. A resurgence of historically based sub-cultural groups like rockabilly and swing dancing has also played a part in making vintage clothing fashionable these last two decades.
The installation presented is the outcome of two sources. The first relates by to my childhood , I have always been inspired by both my grandmother’s style. The second relies on a street fashion survey I have conducted in the month of January 2010. Combining both interests made me wander through the streets of Beirut City trying in vain to capture a glimpse of some of Beirut’s best dressed “Teta’s”. Due to the lack of public transport and public space in our city, the elderly woman of B.C perhaps remain at home; keeping their retro style unseen. As for the youth, I have noticed that street fashion does not yet exist in Lebanon, since I have only encountered a few people worthy of being photographed through my walk around the city.
DUST is 80 years of age. It exploits various techniques from a street fashion survey and walks around the city to collage, projection, interior shop setting and window display. Each clothing piece is unique since it comes from a different era. It has been preserved and was worn by 3 users of different generations. So this is truly a fashion retrospective covering the 1930’s, 1950’s,1960’s,1970’s and 1980’s!
Shopping and wearing vintage is like being your own designer because you can choose and combine your ensemble from a variety of eras including contemporary. In the 21st century knowing how to create a unique look in an otherwise bland mass-produced market may be a way to regain one’s individuality through re-valuing and reuse, and redefine fashion in the process.
Special thanks: Leyla, Linda, Tonnie, Nayla, Kristina, Nada, Belkis, my grandmothers and grandfathers
All photos by Sarah Lily
For Honey, always