Vintage Culture vs Vintage Couture

Fashion according to Ania

On today’s coffee break we’re going to chat vintage culture. The “vintage” term can suggest two different meanings. On one hand, it can be about new collections or trends inspired by past times and style icons throughout our history and on the other hand, it can be about the retro or second hand culture.

“Les grandes maisons” also want to take part in this phenomenon, (or maybe I should say that they’re the responsible of this trend…) and most of the designers are always getting inspired by oldies.

The creative director of the brand that actually takes all the looks and positive comments from the fashion critics, Miuccia Prada, presents a collection clearly inspired on the 50’s. I am talking about the times when James Dean was the hottest man on earth and Marilyn Monroe became the fashion icon after wearing the pleated white dress on The Seven Year Itch. The time where in Las Vegas pubs, people were queuing for the juke box to put the latest Elvis Presley’s hits. Oh, can I please jump into a time-machine?

This ambiance results on pleated garments, pencil skirts, handbags and cat eyed sunglasses. Apart from Prada, also the Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch and Marco Zanini, Rochas’ creative director, also pay tribute to the 50’s on their latest collections.

 Everyone is talking about second-hand markets nowadays. I don’t know whether it’s because of the crisis or not, but what is clear is that these markets surely have become trendy. There’s no doubt that every fashionista’s closet here in Barcelona is full of vintage clothes.

I have dedicated myself to do a demographic study of this phenomenon and there are several things to discuss. There are some elements that all vintage markets have in common.

First of all, the music plays an important role as it’s moves from the 80′s and back. The tracks always tend to match the retro culture and that’s why the garage style is the most common one.

Secondly, we have the products. The most popular ones are the glasses, leather jackets or what I call “the vintage gems,” I mean: clothing from well known brands that for some reason have come into the hands of someone that sells them in exchange for a price not being too high. I am talking about those kind garments that when you see them, you try to hide your joy and you ask for the price acting like “this is a shit, you will be happy if I give you 5 euros in exchange”. But actually, you’re thinking about running to the closest ATM and get 100 euros…am I right?

The third element that stands out is the public who attend such events. In general, these people are the young “fashionistas” who can’t afford new clothes in retro style because they either 1) do not exist or 2) if found, their entire month’s salary won’t be enough to cover the cost of one item. Therefore, retro looking styles are a must buy for big fashion chains and its increasingly successful within the target market.

In Barcelona, there are markets for all tastes, from the Flea Market that is held the first Sunday of each month to the renowned Lost and Found, which very soon became famous. Lost and Found takes place in a train station called Estació de França.
The concept of vintage market within the bars has also been established and is now hugely popular in the city. In fact, I was in charge of organizing one myself; every Wednesday along with Raver Jewish Dj. 


Before I finish my coffee break with you beauties, I wanted to give you some tips on vintage fashion stores gere in Barcelona. And let me tell you: you are lucky! Because almost all of them are concentrated on the same street, called Riera Baixa.

Riera Baixa is a small pedestrian street where you’ll find tons of second hand shops and where you practically can find everything; from old vinyls to wedding dresses. Each shop has its own character, and you should chose the store carefully depending on what you’re looking for. There’re two boutiques I am obsessed with and would like to recommend.

The first is called Carrousel and it’s a little, cozy shop full of impeccable and elegant clothes. The boutique is managed by a very nice guy who knows everything there is to know about the garments he sells (I love professionals!) All the clothes are very carefully selected and most of it is haute couture with affordable prices.


The second one is called MOTEL and was opened in the beginning of 2009. The boutique offers a variety of items; very carefully chosen by its owner, Elisabet. I got to know her in the beginning of her career and the way she is taking care of the clothing items really amaze me! This made me think of that every garment actually has a long story that starts from an idea and passes by loads of hands before arriving to the store and our wardrobe…Very often we tend to forget this when we’re purchasing our clothes (especially when we are buying things from the big chains.)

I hope you enjoyed our vintage break! 



Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into perfecting her morning brew.