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So You Want to Collect Vintage Clothes

David Casavant, Bridget Morphew, Katharine K. Zarrella, and Cameron Silver / Photo: Jenna Bascom


Racks of designer clothing, rows of Chanel bags, tables full of gold jewelry—and not a single piece from this season. Such was the scene at Vintage at Intermezzo, a vintage show and event organized by the CFDA’s new partner UBM fashion.

Yesterday, the show held a panel discussion (moderated by FU’s editor-in-chief, Katharine K. Zarrella), which included Cameron Silver, the founder of the vintage store Decades, Bridget Morphew of the shop Morphew, and David Casavant, a collector and stylist.

The trio discussed a bevy of topics, including how they’ve found modern designers using vintage pieces as inspiration for contemporary fashion, what vintage means in a world run by fast-fashion empires, and what to buy now that will be worth something in the future. The verdict on the last point was unanimous: buy what you love, first and foremost.

“You just have to really believe in it, it has to speak to you,” said Casavant, who started collecting used or off-season Helmut Lang and Raf Simons menswear, which has now become a highly sought-after collection. “Even if it’s last season and it’s not in right now, that doesn’t mean it’s not valued.”

“Vintage reminds us what it’s like to have emotions [and] to own clothes,” added Silver, telling the audience of a woman he once met who kept the dress she wore when she first met her husband.

Photo: Jenna Bascom

It’s certainly a gamble, as the overwhelming majority of items will not increase in value over time. However, for those looking to get ahead of the curve, Morphew suggests keeping an eye out for unique items, rather than basics.

“The pieces that stand out,” She explained. “That are weird, that look different, that are iconic. There’s not going to be a simple black dress as a sought-after piece.”

“Education and story telling is key to the Vintage world,” Danielle Licata, the women’s fashion director and VP brand director of Coterie, said of how events like these foster a community within the vintage fashion market. “Each and every dealer comes with their own point of view, story about how they got into the industry and strategy on how they obtain their favorite items. The story behind each individual piece is even more important and the history it holds is a key part of the transfer beyond the physical exchange of money and product.”

For those who missed out this time around, UBM fashion will be holding another vintage show in June, and will expand to include beauty, streetwear, and resort. That special piece might just be waiting for you.


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