What is vintage clothing?
Why do we care so much about it?
Who is actually wearing it?
After the opening of vintage haven Cardiff Fashion Quarter in October, DYN explored the wonderfully eccentric world of vintage to find out if it is a place comfortable for the modern day man
Firstly, no, last year’s socks do not clarify as ‘vintage’ however holey they may be. The correct definition of a piece of ‘vintage’ clothing is something that was made after the 1920s and is usually second hand. If you want to try grabbing a piece of the 1800s then you can smugly explain that actually ‘antique’ style is more your thing. There is a debate on whether vintage clothing stops at around the 1960s but many would also say that even the 90s could be classed under this heading.
Clearly there is some ambiguity within this topic so DYN headed to Hobos, one of Cardiff’s stores that sells vintage menswear, to find out more.
Hobos offers a selection of chunky knitwear, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air inspired shirts and huge denim bombers. It is a quirky mix of 80s and 90s clothing that offers an individual twist on what the high street currently offers.
Situated in the depths of the High Street Arcade Hobos owner Ben, a vintage enthusiast who started selling clothes at the age of 14, welcomed DYN into his world.
He is passionate about menswear as he said,“I think it helps that this store is run by a bloke, I like vintage and gent’s clothes so I always try and get great items. We are one of the only shops in Cardiff that sell vintage menswear so I always make sure we have stuff in.”
The importance of stocking menswear has never been as significant for this store as Ben discovered that now women are also choosing this style over dresses as he said how, “In our shopping experience now virtually everything we sell is basically for both sexes.”
So with even women interested in menswear it appears that the vintage trend should be something that men notice. Ben believes that men are very much aware of the trend but it is only really the men that know what they want that enter his shop.
“With the vintage trend men pick and choose what they want out of it, they might really like crew sweats so will buy 20 of them, if they like something they tend to stick to it,” explained Ben.
Pete, who also works in the store and describes his style as inspired by the 50s and 60s, agrees, as he found that there is normally a certain type of man that shops in Hobos. He explained that over the 4 years that he has worked, there had been a slight increase in men shopping at the store but still remains unsure whether men will really embrace the trend.
“Generally I think men do need to take more care of how they look and not follow the crowd as much,” said Pete. “I really like it as it has the one off factor but I hardly see men looking different. I am not sure whether they really appreciate the vintage look.”
So why are some men afraid of embracing a more individual style?
Vintage could seem daunting and confusing, the shops are normally hidden and the bright lights of the high street can easily guide you away. However adapting your style is a lot easier with vintage as everything you buy is one of a kind. Plus women love it, well most of them anyway.
The Fashion Quarter is a clear success as the sellers explained that there was nothing like it around Cardiff. It was also a financial dream for many of them as Daisy from Rock-Ola Reborn discussed that it had given her an opportunity that she never would have had normally.
“I had just finished university,” said Daisy, “ And I really wanted to own my own shop, but at around two thousand pounds to rent a place, it was unrealistic. It is all thanks to the people that own this venue that made it happen.”
How was vintage menswear given a place to blossom in Cardiff?
Alec from Bada Peng Bada Doom who was a carpenter and joiner before starting his vintage business, explains the unlikely story.
Overall although vintage might still be a new idea of many men, Cardiff is slowly developing the trend to make it more accessible. With stores like Hobos and places like Cardiff Fashion Quarter, vintage is finally getting some attention and more importantly so is menswear.
After all if your girlfriend wants to steal your clothes, vintage must be onto something.