The adorable Milla wrote about the future of vintage in a very thought-provoking post this Tuesday. Since thrift shops are drowning in cheap lycra and horrid acrylics already, it makes one ask what we can expect to happen within the next, say, 30-40 years. When the treasures of our thrifting generation are passed on to our children and grandchildren, they are pretty much antiques. Milla asks what is the legacy that our generation leaves behind from the perspective of style choices. Fake-leather shoes, cheap jersey, and some supposedly high-quality designer pieces in the mix? Whatever the answer is, the sheer amount of stuff is going to be overwhelming.
This got me thinking about the contents of my wardrobe. There is a lot of second hand stuff in there, but also quite a few items that I have bought when they were brand new. I have never had trouble admitting that I have done my share of binge-shopping at H&M, and I keep hoping that I can hold onto my promise to never do it again, for both environmental and stylistic reasons. Considering that I do have "new" stuff in my closet, I took a long and hard look at the clothes I have, and tried to think which ones would qualify as vintage treasures of the future. I was pretty shocked. I kept finding great items, only to realize that I had bought them second hand. I tried to come up with an outfit using only clothes that I had bought new in order to prove to myself that I had made some good choices. (I couldn't. The pea-green cardigan is second hand.)
My criteria for future treasures were as follows: 1) the material would have to survive wear and tear, 2) the style would have to be somewhat timeless, and 3) they would have to be well made (no threads hanging loose, no serged seams; in general, good craftmanship or tailoring). The few non-second hand items that would qualify included a black Sportmax pencil skirt, a couple of pairs of Acne and Diesel trousers, an age-old jeans jacket, and a few outdoor coats. That's it. I did, luckily, find several pairs of shoes and two handbags that would qualify, but unfortunately I also found many that did not. It also hit me that a lot of these future treasures were items that I had got access to because of my previous job and staff discounts at a good-quality clothing retailer.
Living in the US has awoken me to some harsh realities regarding consumerism. What I have seen in Finland (13-year-olds getting their weekly fix at H&M and Zara) is nothing compared to driving past Wal-Mart on a Saturday and realizing that shopping is a past-time here for entire families. Shopping is about buying. You want it, you buy it. If you don't have the money, you put it on credit. Houses here are huge because otherwise you can't fill them with stuff. (Just an example: our "small" town-house would be considered a residence for a family of four in Finland). I have seen adverts for a tv-programme called Hoarders that tackles people's houses so full of stuff they can't even move in them. It features people who are literally sick with consumption, but the consumption in question is quite different from the one a hundred years ago (tuberculosis).
What are you leaving behind for the future generations? Do the clothes in your wardrobe qualify as future treasures for thrifters in 30 years?