Recent interest in 'vintage' and second hand clothes by both fashion consumers and designers is only the latest manifestation of a long and complex cultural history of wearing and trading second hand clothes. With its origins in necessity, the passing of clothes between social and ecomic groups is w a global business, but with roots that are centuries old. To move from one social and cultural situation to ather used clothes must be 'transformed' to become of potential value to a new social group. How, when and why this has happened is the subject of this book. Old Clothes, New Looks presents a three-part focus on the history, the trading culture, and the contemporary refashioning of second hand clothing. Historical perspectives include studies located in Renaissance Florence, early industrial England, colonial Australia, and mid twentieth-century Ireland. The global nature of the second hand trade in clothing is presented through original research from Zambia, India, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan. The reuse of garments as contemporary fashion statements is explored through studies that include neo-mod retro-sixties subculture in Germany, the impact of 'vintage' in the USA on consumers and designers, as well as consideration of its sartorial and cultural challenges, encapsulated by the work of designer XULY.Bet. This groundbreaking book will be essential reading for all those interested in fashion and dress, material culture, consumption and anthropology, as well as to dealers, collectors and wearers of second hand clothes.
Alexandra Palmer is the Nora E. Vaughan Fashion Costume Curator, in the Textile and Costume Section at the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada. She is also adjunct faculty in the Graduate Programme in Art History, York University. Hazel Clark is Chair, Department of Critical Studies, Parsons School of Design.