Friday, 30 November 2012

Escapism from the contemporary...

Recently so called "vintage clothing" has become a large trend. But what does vintage mean? And why has wearing someone's second hand clothing become so trendy?
Well these have been questions that I have now been asking myself for a while and recently I was lucky enough to learn the answer in a lecture for my fashion history course. Because this had been puzzling me for such a long time I thought that maybe others out there felt the same way and therefore decided to share my notes in the form of this blogpost. 
Hopefully it will make more sense to you as well after reading this. 

First of all, what does the term vintage actually mean? Well according to my macbook pro, vintage was a term only used when referring to wine and only recently has begun to be used when talking about fashion and other items such as furniture.

urban outfitters dress by one and only collections. Vintage fabric was used to create this new dress. 
Vintage clothing was formerly known as second hand clothing and was something that only the working class would wear. In a time before ready-to-wear clothing existed and everything was tailored, clothing was a lot more expensive and had greater value. Therefore people would wear their clothing until it was literally falling apart. Once the original owner was done with them, they were sold at markets for second-hand clothing. 
During the World War II because of the rationing of raw materials it became hard to buy new clothing and therefore people had to learn to make-do and mend their old clothing. Children wore second hand clothes passed down to them by their siblings or family friends. To the generation that lived through this era second-hand clothing would naturally have a negative connotation.

However, in the 1950s and 60s wearing vintage army clothing became popular amongst youth- and sub-cultures. The mainstream culture did not follow this trend. The 1960s were also seen as the age of mass production (aka "The Golden Age") so buying new became affordable. Buying second-hand clothing was considered a sign of poverty. 

This is my vintage jewelry collection. Some pieces belonged to my grandmother and others were purchased at flea- markets. 
Nowadays the generation that lived through WWII is dying out and the youth culture of the 1960s is growing up and working and can therefore promote the selling of vintage clothing. 

left: ring my grandmother gave me   right: ring bought at the winchester vintage market

The four main reasons for the growing popularity of vintage clothes are : 

-the end of history

bracelet my grandmother found and gave to me. 
It appears that we want to consume an era that we did not experience first hand. It could be seen as escapism from the contemporary. 

The End of History
It has been said that we have reached the end of history and discovered and invented all there is. In terms of fashion it is hard to be innovative as many ideas have already been done. Therefore second hand clothing and putting a modern spin on the old trends can be fun and interesting. Vintage tends not to be historic copying. This means that one would not go out dressed fully in a 1950s outfit, but one may have a 1950s dress on and combine it with a 1920s handbag and modern jacket, for example.

After the attack on the twin towers on September 11th 2001, vintage culture expanded a great deal. This can especially be seen in interior design. Before 9/11 interiors were bright, simple, modern and with large open spaces. About two months after 9/11 (which is the time it would take for a magazine to plan,shoot and print) old fashioned interiors become more popular as they were more "cosy"making you feel more "safe", they were promoted in interior design magazines.

Nowadays one could say that you do not even have to buy designer clothes to be fashionable. It is possible to get a designer knock-offs on the high-street. One can spend very little money on an outfit but look as if it has cost a lot. This is why recently what one wears has become a reflection of one's connoisseurship. Cultural capital has become just as, or more significant than economic capital. Finding good deals on vintage clothing means that one has the time to search for these little boutiques in order to find these "treasures". And as we all know, nothing has changed, time=money=status. So having this time to "waste" would imply that one does not have to work all the time because one is wealthy 
enough as it is.

vintage crocodile leather bag purchased at the flea-market in Frankfurt.

There has been a lot of influences on the catwalk where designers rework vintage pieces. Often these vintage items are reworked because people have generally become bigger ( Eating all that McDonalds has taken it's toll...) and often it takes less time to rework an existing piece of clothing than create a new piece from scratch.
Interestingly enough only the youth culture's fashions have been revived (Yes, this means not everyone used to walk around in maxi hippie dresses...)
Vintage is generally for the middle class and accessible to everyone. This trend can also be seen in other markets such as the food industry i.e the growing popularity of ladurée that sells amazing, but overpriced, pastries and macaroons in old-fashioned shops (Also, interesting fact: Ladurée became really popular after Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette movie came out, in which she is eating macaroons, but FYI macaroons, the way we know them, did not exist until the beginning of the 20th century). Vintage style furniture has also grown in popularity recently. 

So there you go! Now, you too, know why vintage has become so popular recently and I reviewed my notes effectively! WIN WIN! 

And in the spirit of the revival of the old, I will leave you with some old vintage tunage:

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

...Somewhere I Know

These are some pictures I took yesterday when I brought my sister to the train-station. 
The black and white definitely makes the Parisian metro look about 100 times cleaner than it is.

Also, we arrived perfectly on time only to find out that T's train had been cancelled and we had to wait two more hours till the next one. So we went to a restaurant and I tried a veggie burger for the very first time. (T is vegetarian and we were sharing) I must say it wasn't that bad. However, I don't think I would be a able to give up steak...

On another note: Remember olympicsmusic I was talking about in my previous post? Well I have been listening to his song Start a Riot on repeat for the past hour! I love it.

Monday, 26 November 2012


I must say it is quite practical having a father living in Paris. It gives me an excuse to go to my maybe most favorite city every so often. I was privileged enough to be able to go again these past few days. Last night my friend and I went to Le Tape Bar. I have been there a couple of times now and have never been disappointed. the atmosphere is cool, the drinks reasonably priced (and affordable to a poor student such as myself) and the people are friendly. 
Yesterday we stumbled in on an event being held there. It was a party organized by VLNC. Violence is "a small collection of creative minds raised by the experience of life and shaped by their passion" as stated on there facebook page. They are a group of film makers, photographers, digital creatives and illustrators that work together together. They had some art pieces up in the bar and a video was playing in the backround. I was quite impressed by what their work, so check it out! :) 

On the right is David. We met him at Le Tape Bar and actually my friend and I ended up going back to his house to hang out and he showed us his music, which was really cool! Here's the link : olympicsmusic

I met so many interesting people, which is one of the reasons why I love this bar!

All pictures above are taken from the VLNC facebook page.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Everybody starts out small.

Today I made my first mini mix on virtual dj! Okay, I know virtual dj is nothing to be proud of as it has the infamous sync button. And 21 minutes makes it rather a microscopic mix instead of mini... It isn't perfect but non the less I am proud as (next to my washing) it is the only thing that I have achieved today. And besides, you gotta start somewhere... So here it is! If you have 21 minutes to spare give it a listen! And please be gentle with me. It's my first trial. 

Friday, 2 November 2012


I have never been huge on halloween costumes, but I guess going to art uni has had somewhat of an effect on me as this year I went all out! My friend E. and I decided that we would go as creepy zombie dolls. We looked on the internet for some inspiration and found some pretty cool make-up that people had worn. So, we decided we would try to do it ourselves. 
And here's how we did it: 

Step 1: Cover (and I mean really COVER) your face in white face-paint. 

Steps 2: put red lipsticks on your lips. I used a thin paintbrush for this to get it exactly right. I only covered the middle bits of my upper lip, exaggerating the shape of them and made my lower lips a little more pointy than they naturally are, to give my lips a dollish look. 

Step 3: Backcomb your hair. Using a hairbrush make your frizzy and voluminous by brushing it upwards. Add in (about a ton) of hairspray to make it stick. 

 Step 4: I then added eyeliner and eyeshadow to my eyes. Under my eyes I drew a line with black watercolor, then I made my eyelashes wet and blinked several times to make the black color run down my cheeks. 

Step 5: Use an eyebrow pencil to exaggerate the eyebrows. 

Et Voilà! 

 Below is an image of my friend who also dressed up as a zombie doll. 

This is another one of my friends. She dressed up as a dead person. Quite a simple idea, but I think she definitely mastered the look! The red paint all over her is watercolor. 

And this is all of us together. Among us were two zombie dolls, a unicorn, an African Tribal Person (she spent most of her life living in Uganda and took her inspiration from there) and a dead person. 
Quite a random group! 

Sadly, before we even got into the club we were going to, it started pouring and all my make-up came off. 3 hours of getting ready for nothing.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

L's Paris- Le soir

This summer I spent a month in Paris with my friends. We did a fair amount of going out at night and some of the best nights I have had, I had in Paris! Here is a list of some of my personal favorite places to go for a good night out!

This is one of Paris' most famous clubs. We had a fun night there and the people were very cool and hip! At one point I was even busting some moves with a Mick Jagger look-alike. They have a lot of famous djs coming and playing there.

I think this club might even be my favorite out of all the ones I have been to in Paris (and trust me, I have seen plenty!) The warehouse-like interior contrasting the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling create a nice ambience. When there are large events they will even open up another room for smokers and when entering you will feel like you are stepping into the belle-epoque, thanks to it's old-fashion design. It is a nice opportunity for socializing if your feet hurt from all the dancing, even for non-smokers. 
Coming here, I have met some very fun and interesting people and heard some of the coolest music I have heard in Paris yet. 
Last weekend I went to an event celebrating the 10 years of the french label Ekleroshock with artists such as Danger and Data performing.  

On a Monday we went to Le Queen, located on the Champs-Elysées. Mondays is Disco-Night. They play all kinds of disco music from the 70s and 80s. This too was a great night! 
Oh, and did I mention : Entrance is free for girls till 12.30 am! 


This club is a rather small and hidden club and I have been told that getting in can be difficult sometimes (however as we were 3 dressed up girls, we succeeded!). As it was once a brothel, the interior is very decadent but cosy. The music was great and their house cocktail is the most delicious drink I have ever tasted and worth every cent of it's outrageously high price of 15 Euro. 
Entrance is free. 

Last weekend J. and I went to Le Régine's. We thought that nowhere we would go, would be as fun as the night before at le Nouveau Casino, but Le Régine's came quite close. 
After making our way down the endless winding staircase, we were faced with a large room with mirrored ceilings, excellent music and a friendly crowd. Thank God for us the clock was changed to daylight saving time that night, which meant we had an extra hour of fun! We still managed to stay till 6 am (which technically would have been 7am...). I think this is proof enough that this club is worth a visit! 

 Images by Andrew Brooke. 

If clubbing isn't your thing, I recommend Le Tape Bar, located near the Bastille. The bartenders are friendly and the music selection cool! Furthermore, it's prices are decent which is something rather rare in Paris. 

the walls are covered with people's signatures. 
We also left our mark! (below)

8. Le Trocadéro

As cliché as this sounds right now, the Trocadéro is really worth visiting if you want to have a lovely view of of the Eiffel Tower at night! 

Maybe grab a hot-dog from one of these fast food stands, and enjoy it and the lovely view.