Sign Me Up for Karaoke

by Erin on February 7, 2011

Some purists sniff, if not sneer, at the trend. Madeline Meyerowitz, owner of the vintage clothing Web site enokiworld.com, which sells labels like Courrèges and Claire McCardell, likened designers of reproduction clothing to singers at a karaoke bar. “I don’t want to hear you sing it, I want to hear the original artist sing it,” she said. [This Old Thing? Actually, It's New]

I got a bunch of links to the above-quoted article at the NYT about repro vintage clothing … and the quote above really stood out (even more than "Men treat me differently when I wear vintage or something that looks vintage"). 

To me the karaoke metaphor, far from being a big slam, really highlights one of the things I love about the repro fashion movement … audience participation! I love vintage, but as we get farther away from the time periods whose clothing we love, the laws of supply and demand kick in: too many people chasing too few original objects means higher prices. (Great for Enokiworld, not so good for buyers.) Repro vintage means that more people can enjoy the same things we love: full skirts, kicky collars, and pockets!

Repro (especially DIY repro!) is inclusive, and builds community. I don't see a community forming around owning a Celine leather tunic (maybe I'm just hanging out in the wrong places? And in the wrong clothes?) but people are still congregating around the Butterick Walk-Away Dress – and even the reissue pattern is four years old!

I see repro as supporting lots of things I love: independent fashion, vintage aesthetics, and a deeper, more thoughtful relationship with the clothes we wear. And traditional vintage should only be helped, not hurt, by the repro movement: once you make a Claire McCardell pattern, your taste will definitely be whetted for the real thing. (Trust me, I speak from experience.)

What's your take? Are you vintage-only, DIY-only, repro-only, or a mix? 

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