What does ‘Vintage’ actually mean?

We hear and talk about Vintage often, but what do we actually mean when we say ‘Vintage’?

‘Vintage’ is often used to describe different items, in different categories, different qualities, different ages, but what does vintage truly mean? Are we using this term correctly, and how is vintage different to retro?

The word ‘Vintage’ was first used in the early 15th century. It was taken from the Old French vendage, meaning wine harvest. Whenever we talk about vintage wine we talk about wine from particular harvest, or crop.

This word today is used not only in relation to wine, but also when describing other items from the past, like clothing, or furniture.

So what does ‘Vintage’ mean outside of the wine category?

By Vintage we usually mean an old item, which carries certain nostalgic value, and potentially is of high quality. Vintage normally means something that is at least 20 years old, but not more than a 100, as then it would be classified as antique.

This ‘rule’ applies to furniture; anything that’s older than 100 years is usually termed antique. Anything more recent could be called vintage (unless it’s ‘younger’ than 20-30 years old). Term ‘Vintage’ is commonly used to describe an item that is representative of predominant style of particular period, not just any old item that falls into the aforementioned timelines.

Vintage and retro are sometimes used interchangeably, however there is a real difference between meanings of these two words. ‘Retro’ means something patterned after an old style; it doesn’t have to be old, or from particular era, but it resembles, or imitates trends and tendencies of recent past.

Both Vintage and Retro give an amazing opportunity of creating an inspirational and individual style in clothing and interior decoration. A very special design could be formed from contemporary, very recent pieces combined with objects which are representative of different periods. Vintage and Retro truly point at a wide range of items and possibilities, and open a window for creativity and imagination in the world of fashion and interior decor.

Thanks to vintage and retro being a vital ingredient of contemporary furniture and the decor market, anyone can be taken on a journey to a not so distant past, immerse in a spirit of a particular era and bring some of this experience into their everyday life, by introducing vintage or retro objects into their surroundings.

 

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