The concept of subcultures is a difficult one for me to grasp. A subculture is defined as an aesthetically outstanding social group, identifying through style of dress, common interests, music, literature etc. (Hebdige). I often find myself confused by whether the members intentionally create the subculture group or whether it’s more of a coincidental collision of interests, style and hobbies. Simply a group of people, although not necessarily in a physical social sense, sharing an outlook on life, setting themselves apart from the rest of society. The vintage subculture in particular is one that fascinates me as I see more and more people proudly displaying their collections of precious retro garments. The allotment of vintage inspired individuals into a subculture however, seems to be a controversial topic as there are so many variations of vintage fashion.
‘Vintage’ generally refers to a span of 20 to 100 years ago, assigning up to one hundred years of fashion into one very broad category. Is a general interest in vintage fashion homogenous enough to issue a single label? To those looking on, yes, but perhaps not to those being labelled. Just as I refuse to conform to the ‘hipster’ label that’s often given to me. I admire those who are comfortable to identify in a subculture, but whenever someone refers to me as ‘hipster’ I can’t help but feel a surge of refusal and frustration as I am clearly not! It’s not as though I have any issues with those who identify in the subculture or any others for that matter. My reaction is due to the fact that I truly believe that I’m not a hipster. If all society was forced to be split in categories I’d be under one tilted “Girls with a bob, short fringe, a Kanken backpack, and doc martins” or “Red head, alternative, artsy vegan with glasses” which could both be considered variations of the hipster stereotype. Surprisingly I’ve come across many people on social media who fall under these exact descriptions. Not what I understand to be the stereotypical hipster!
This is similar to the Vintage subculture and the diversity that thrives within it. Words such as hipster or vintage act as an overarching theme or umbrella that holds numerous sub-categories beneath it. As ironic as it is, subcultures dividing into sub-categories, such as Rockabilly or Pin Up Girls. An example of someone who is definitely part of the Vintage subculture in one way or another is Katie-Louise Ford. Ford is someone I have admired for quite some time now, always in awe of her ability and bravery to consistently submerge herself in every aspect of vintage fashion and lifestyle. She has a history in costume design and handmade clothing and together with her partner Tim Nicol, they are the founders of the online shop The Gold Hatted Lovers. Selling a variety of authentic vintage and handmade clothing, inspired predominantly by the early twentieth century, Ford and Nicol spread their love and enthusiasm for all things retro. Nicol describes himself as a “vintage hoarder and avid hunter of the obscure and rare”, proving that men can also lovers of fashion and an integral of the vintage subculture too!
Campbell, Mel. 2014. “Go Home, Retro, You’re Drunk: On Political Conservatism And Vintage Subcultures”. Junkee, 21 January. Accessed 2 October 2016. http://junkee.com/go-home-retro-youre-drunk-on-political-conservatism-and-vintage-subcultures/27243
Hebdige, Dick. 1979. Subculture; the Meaning of Style. Methuen & Co. Ltd
La Furla, Ruth. 2012. “A Sly Wink to Pinups of the Past”. The New York Times, 16 May. Accessed 2 October 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/fashion/a-sly-wink-to-pinups-of-the-past.html?_r=1
Seager, Gemma. 2011. “What Is Vintage Anyway?”. Retro Chick, 14 October. Accessed 2 October 2016. http://www.retrochick.co.uk/what-is-vintage/
The Gold Hatted Lovers. 2014. “1930s Leisure Wear”. Accessed 2 October 2016. http://www.thegoldhattedlovers.com/about/