Vintage Textiles


The term 'Vintage' originally referred to the year a wine or oil was bottled. Then gradually the word passed into general usage to mean the year a particular item was made. First it was used to describe vintage cars, meaning cars that were at least 50 years old and later on it started to include all sort of old products.

What is vintage textile?

Any textile fabric or product to be included in the category of vintage textiles must essentially belong to another era and mostly because of its limited supply that people develops a yearning to collect them. Another important aspect of vintage textile that it should possess an elusive quality that would make it as desirable as it was in its heyday.

Desirability and quality are two factors that actively contribute in making a vintage textile exclusive.

Pros and Cons of vintage textiles A vintage textile item is bound to exhibit some signs of wear and it is unrealistic as well as unreasonable to expect a vintage textile to be in the same condition as that of a new garment and to possess the same durability. Thus all vintage textile products need to be treated with utmost care and the wearable vintage textile garments and accessories requires gentle wearing and proper maintenance.

Common Sources of Vintage Textiles

  • Different types of auctions
  • Specialist shops
  • Markets
  • Re-enactment sites
  • Online sites of vintage

Vintage clothes are usually selected and sorted from old clothes and frequently sold through auctions arranged by various auction houses. The auction houses not only regularly sells textile garments and accessories but also includes textile products like linens, drapes, curtains, shawls etc.Vintage textile collectors can access information regarding vintage textiles through catalogues available at the auctions.

Maintaining Vintage Textiles A person needs to be cautious while dealing with a vintage textile as cleaning and washing a vintage textile needs utmost care.

Considerations for proper maintenance of vintage textiles

  • It is advisable not to use washing machine or dryer to clean and wash any vintage item.
  • One item should be washed at a time.
  • While washing and cleaning it is best to use water which is diluted with one part boiling to three parts cold water.
  • The vintage item should never be agitated and mildest of detergent should be used.
  • The item should never be tumble dried.
  • When the item is almost dry or damp dry it should be pressed carefully testing the pressing on an inside facing.
  • The vintage item should always be hanged on a padded hanger.