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the vintage expo, exposed

February 5, 2012

Today, I went to The Vintage Fashion Expo in Santa Monica.  Not being able to persuade anyone to join me, I ventured alone.  I was hoping to find some fabrics, trims and buttons.  There was little of that to be found, and a lot of junk, but I still found a few treasures.  Here’s my haul:

I also got some crochet trim and a dozen antique buttons.

Besides buying some fun stuff, my trip was educational.  A woman at one of the booths taught me about the business of vintage clothing.  She explained that before World War II, Americans got most of their fashions from Europe (Paris, mostly).  During the war, production of apparel was very minimal.  And after the war, Europe was rebuilding and recovering.  America entered the fashion world at that time.  So there was a stretch of time after the war when Europeans were making do with their clothes while Americans were producing all the cute stuff we see in pictures and film from that era.  As a result, it’s impossible for Europeans to buy vintage clothing where they live, so women like the one I spoke to sell their inventory for inflated prices to European fashionistas on the internet.  She said 75% of her sales are overseas.  Pretty interesting.

I’m always surprised how small people were 50 years ago.  So much of the clothing is tiny.  I saw lots of men’s pants in size 28″.  Some of the women’s blouses looked like they were made for children.

Overall, there was a LOT of jewelry and old shoes.  Lots of hipsters and hippies.  Lots of girls pulling dresses on over their jeans to see if they fit.  Lots of gross stuff that wouldn’t sell at a yard sale.  Lots of things with stains and moth holes.  Things were either VERY expensive ($1200 vintage Chanel dresses) or crap – there wasn’t a whole lot in between.  I’m not sure I’d go again.  I think there are better treasures to be found at the Orange Circle.  But it was an adventure.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2012 4:53 am

    What she told you is very true, much of the glamourous fashion after the war upto the end of the 50’s was made by American union labour and it’s not easy to find European vintage items from that period and the appeal of Golden Hollywood increases the demand for those clothes. Although, come the 60’s Europe began to thrive again.

    The sizing is interesting and makes it easier to date items since the equivalents are given in smaller numbers e.g. a 50’s size US 12-14 would be a 4-6 now. We consume a lot more nowadays, mostly unhealthy foods with a lot of filler, and people have grown in average height a little but a fair bit in overall size plus the industry has made sizing a bit of a placebo to placate buyers.

    It’s a shame about the quality of the fair, hopefully there are better ones.

  2. February 7, 2012 11:52 pm

    Adventures are always good. 🙂

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