Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ye Olde Repurposing

I have to chuckle at the new buzz word...repurpose. For awhile it was vintage or retro...but what the labels do is to provide legitimacy to the items from the 50s,60s, & 70s, not to mention shabby & chic, that in the "olden" days would not darken the door of an antique shop.

The “100 year” label is a government designation for imports based on customs regulations, but it has been used quite loosely. I hear them call something antique at auction that I received for a wedding present in 1976! I have learned that many people in the "antique" business are not skilled at determining what is old and what is not. Looks old...must be old! You only need to look at the shelves in Marshalls or TJ Maxx to see things with the "look."

The term “vintage” came into vogue when the “real” antiques were not in the open market although the current economic crisis is shaking out all kinds of things as people look for new sources of cash. I think antique is a little burdensome for the younger consumers who are used to stores where the imagination is not challenged...Pottery Barn or Target...or looking through catalogs where everything is laid out also...antique shops push your tags tell people what to do with the things I sell(nicely, of course)...and then the young consumer also understands internet buying where you google what you want...voila`...there it is.

I know I buy for my shop based on decor not necessarily antique. For example, this desk is from the 1920s, not quite antique since it is only 80+ years old (and I am sure every senior citizen would appreciate that line--just like the boomers can handle retro or even vintage better than old!)

I chose it because of the colors...thought it would be a good Christmas focal point...colors are subtle...not garish...a nice holiday feel for my shop. But someone who walks in the door may see "Oriental" and not picture as an accent.

I also picked up some magazines from the 20s and 30s at auction. I love to look through these.
There is nothing more than an old magazine to show how America has changed. In doing a little research, do you know what magazine has the largest circulation today? Modern Maturity! 20 million subscribers! The first magazine originated with Ben Franklin in 1741, but the Saturday Evening Post was the first successful magazine which came on the scene in 1821.

Women's magazines represent the most financially successful magazine category. Advertisers target women since they are the ones who buy the most.

One of the most successful groups of women's magazines has become known as the Seven Sisters. These are Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, McCall's, Redbook, and Woman's Day.

The ads are worth the money you pay for the magazine alone. Some are worthy of being framed...and you do not have to rip them out...with today's new printing you can have it reproduced for a couple dollars.

For example, here is an ad for the celluloid I talked about in an earlier commentary.

Ironically, I found an article on antiques that talked about using an old glass decanter at a luncheon...repurposing 1920s style...

Here is a great car have to chuckle at the idea of the woman driving!!!

Of course, the patterns and fashion ads are fascinating would be neat to have some of these designs revived. I wonder how many of the new designers study the old magazines...there is a new way to repurpose...tweak some of these designs..

It was Plato who gave us the line that "necessity is the mother of invention". Perhaps an economic downturn or a global climate crisis can spurn imaginative ideas to carry us to new inspirations...


gail said...

Hi Susan, I really enjoyed this post. I also love old magazines. The cabinet you have is amazing. I love it as well. Also, I like the new photos on the side of your blog. Too cute! Have a great week...gail

Patricia said...

I just love the old magazines. They are so much fun to go through. Those fashions don't look too far off the mark to me. And I have been using my collection of old decanters forever! Got my first one in 1969 and when I see an odd shaped one I like, I add it in to the collection. Only one of mine is an 'antique' that I'm sure of.


Brown Bee Studio said...

Susan, the desk is sublime! I do love the old fashion spreads as well...I think some designers DO pour over these as they try to "invent" new styles...and my God, could you imagine being in the House of Chanel and NOT referring back to our beloved CoCo's amazing work?!?!
xoxo Andie

Marie said...

Hi Susan,
I really enjoyed this post. I t was fun looking at old ads. Love that desk, too.

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...

Hi Susan,

I love the Magazine covers! The victorian women on the front covers were so beautiful.. It is such a treasure to see how times have changed just by looking at an old magazine...
Have a great week ahead!

Pei Li

Silena said...

Hi Susan,
As always, an amazingly wonderful post. You are so knowledgeable and the read is delightful. We, older ladies, get a kick of seeing all the old things returning...a bit updated....but still reminiscent of older designs. Thanks for the great visit!!

Anonymous said...

Susan ~

The old magazines are the best. I love the ads more than the articles. Thanks for the lesson!


Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

It is so interesting to read old magazines. ... and I hate it when someone is selling something as an antique that I owned new LOL.

Anonymous said...

I could spend days just reading old magazines. Thanks for the "blast from the past"

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Hey Susan, I enjoyed this post. I really love those old fashion patterns. I think they are perfect for me with my "flat" chest and short hair. hee,hee,hee. The hats are my favorite.

Carolyn Kocman said...

hmmmmm...what are you trying to say?????

love the mags...wish i had that pile to look through myself. save me one or two...would ya? lol.

as you well know....there is nothing new under the sun. but i do so love this old stuff...brings back the memories, no? thank you for sharing your finds. i love that piece you bought. very cool. someone will snatch it up to be sure.

cathy said...

What great finds! My grandma had mags from 30s-50s. I used to love to look thru them & see what life was like back then. Wish I had kept them now.

Deb said...

Hi Susan....I just love looking at old magazines and catalogs...I enjoyed reading your blog post as always! :)

Pink hugs,

Anonymous said...

It's so nie to have found your blog. The magazines are great finds, but I love the colour of the desk - now that's a fabulous find.
Elena :)