Why are we obsessed with preserving vintage fashion?

Photo Illustration: By The Cut. Photo: @kianabonollo, @kelley.heyer/TikTok

Remember that symbolic pretty in pink Molly Ringwald, all pouty and dejected, decides to trim her moody old dress for a sleek new prom look? What about Emma Stone? Cruella Do you squint at the sewing machine to create the puffiest 20-foot gown out of crappy scrap fabric? Of course, there’s also the classic rag-to-wealth transformation, the “Swish of Wands” transformation. Cinderella, Julie Andrews cut off the drapes and dressed the Von Trapp family. music soundClothing changes have been around forever. And no matter how we feel about the pink prom her dress (ick) that Ringwald’s character wore, watching her measure up an old fabric and breathe new life into it, many of us are I was thinking of digging out at least a sewing kit.

But these days, the revered chop-and-create vision doesn’t evoke the same excitement and applause. At least not on TikTok. The difference is that “before” dresses are often labeled “vintage fashion” in these famous before and after videos. of TikToker Kiana Bonollo viral birthday dressCreated by Pattern Maker trilogy series She upcycled the powder pink polyester lace dress her grandmother wore to her mother’s wedding in 1991 for a spicier, sheer ensemble with black fringes and bodice. But what should have been a harmless, fun project of simple rewear, reuse, and recycling quickly emerged as an online hate magnet.

The first video has 22.4 million views and over 1,300 comments, with people blaming Bonoro for how he “destroyed” his grandmother’s legacy. Other comments included harsher criticisms such as “I ruined a gorgeous vintage dress for a see-through dress I could buy,” “This is a crime,” and “This makes my blood boil.” It will be. Oh. Created by a 24-year-old TikToker response video Her grandma revealed that she had inherited many similar lace dresses for Bonoro’s sewing project.

As with most things on TikTok, more than one creator has been affected by their aggressive attempt to preserve vintage fashion in pristine perfection. A few weeks after Bonoro posted the video, New York-based actor Kelly Heyer posted his TikTok. 70’s vintage dress remake Just like Bonolo, something she bought on eBay to make a birthday outfit. and replaced the floral lace with turquoise glass beads. Again, the gatekeepers of vintage fashion arrived en masse and made surprisingly similar comments.

After TikTok, both of these cases got fame on twitterwhere User confused In a “no-buy” world, people would scold others for reusing their clothes. So what’s the fuss about preserving an old dress like a craft?

“People have more emotional attachments to clothing than to other forms of material culture because it is closer to the body,” he says. amber butchart, fashion historian and curator. “We have a very visceral relationship with it.” This may be because we are more likely to glorify the past than ever before. Baby boomers aren’t the only ones craving a “simpler” era of a bygone era. The young crop has survived two recessions, a pandemic, and growing fears of climate change, so holding onto things when it feels good, even if it’s an ugly polyester dress. It’s strangely comforting.

Daniel VermeerCo-founder and CEO of fashion thrift app Teleport, the problem is ikura Vintage clothes we have. “It took her three seconds to find a similar dress on the Gem app. There are hundreds of other dresses,” she says. “Charity Her shop is inundated with used clothing donations. 85% end up in landfills because no one will buy it. ’ But think about it. If you saw Granny Bonoro’s floppy pink lace dress at a thrift store, would you buy it? Never use state dresses.

And many of these vintage finds don’t have a strong cultural appeal. “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” Dress Famously worn by Kim Kardashian. ‘Marilyn’s dress was very historic,’ says fashion analyst mandy lee, collects Chopova Rowena skirts. “I think it’s important to understand the rarity of clothing, but above all, preserving vintage fashion is a very personal decision that only the owner can make.” For Bonoro, the dress had sentimental value, but her family agreed that altering the pattern didn’t lose its charm. It was a pristine work.

The more time you spend chronically online, the more you will be captivated by powerful visuals. In these TikTok videos of his, we see vintage dresses physically chopped (old fabric scraps fall to the ground) into deceptively trendy versions, ready to take a spin in a new world. This feels a lot more honest than skimming an activist friend’s Instagram story with boring stats about how much textile waste is being generated every minute. the study Every 16 seconds shows an Eiffel Tower-high piece of clothing being driven into a landfill. So by all means — chop, chop.

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