One of my nicest vintage friends has been getting some flak, undeservedly, for producing a measured personal account of her experience working at a certain recent purportedly vintage festival. Now I didn’t attend said festival and this post is not about it, I reserve judgement and maybe I’ll go next time. I do have something to say however about a comment, unfounded, concerning vintage ‘snobbery’.
I am coming out as a vintage snob. I am not the kind of person who believes in absolute authenticity. Good luck to you if your entire outfit was hand sewn by prisoners of war using needles fashioned from downed Messerschmidts. Quite probably you look great. But so does the girl wearing the Next vintagey dress and new look shoes that look just the same as yours. So it’s not a ‘purist’ snobbery.
Nor is it that kind of ‘I have been doing this for years’ snobbery. That shows commitment true, but not superiority. Someone who has just got into it all is a joy. The more the merrier. And if they decide next year they prefer the 80’s? It matters not and they may sell their dresses, hopefully to me, for next to nothing. So it’s not a ‘lets bash the newbie’ snobbery.
I don’t have that ‘but that isn’t period style!’ attitude. If people have gone to town, dressed up in their favourite things and are looking forward to an event, superb. It doesn’t matter if it is a contemporary minimal cocktail dress. If someone has gone for their own version of fancy pants and they feel good: great. Bring on the sequin dresses and halston inspired silky jumpsuits. Glamour is, as Gordon Gekko should have said, good. So I’m not a ‘period’ snob.
So what is my snobbery? Simply that I really really don’t want jeans, trainers, T shirts and fancy dress in my face at a vintage event. I really don’t give a monkeys if it is elitist, they can just piss off. Why the invective? Well I wear my nice little dress and go somewhere that has a retro style and elegance that appeals to the romantic in me (please see my recent post onTthe Far Pavilion Party to see what I mean). I am surrounded by lovely people who have made an effort, no matter how simple and can imagine myself somewhere wonderful. Then a group of twats wander in t shirts and crappy festival fashion and ruin it. They appear and spoil the feel for others whilst enjoying it themselves without contributing or taking part. Selfish gits.
Is it so bloody difficult to make a slight concession? Fancy dress is the worst. You spend your time having fun, collecting and enjoying music and an era then some pillock walks in a nylon wig. Would they turn up at a reggae festival and black up? No, because it is offensive. I’ll repeat it offensive. There are plenty of lovely events which make a virtue of costumes and fantasy to go to, such as The
Whilst for many fashion is the thing, and yes as a vintage chapette an element of wearing your best is the dressing up and showing off. But there is a difference between that and being local colour for a load of gormless festies or trendy revellers. I don’t like finding I have been invited to provide a nice vintage image for others, unless I am being paid or rewarded for doing it. If you go to a fete to demonstrate jive dancing fine, if you go to a social vintage event you are a participator not a decoration. Don't forget we get quite a lot of abuse for our vintage inclinations on a daily basis, declared 'vintage' events are our safe relaxing harbour, our fun. I can go to any All Bar One on a Saturday night and mix with Ugg boots and distressed t-shirts. I don’t go to vintage events to provide entertainment for the normals. They can go out and hire a dvd of the Great Gatsby from Blockbusters.
I’ll be nice to anyone who is nice to me and sympathetic to anyone who turns up in…shudders…trainers by accident. Similarly those who blunder in but are nice are, well, simply nice. But there is not reason why I should be expected to have my enjoyment compromised in order to be accessible to others.
So there I am, outed as a ‘snob’, or am I?
Intelligent comments welcome.