The Future of Vintage

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 26.10.12

The Future of Vintage
What will still be going strong 100 years from now?


Having recently moved countries, I’ve spent a fair amount of time, energy and Euros this year on accumulating house stuff. I’m pleased to say, for once in my life, I resisted the urge to buy everything in one fell swoop of a massive Nordic homewares store, and chose instead to explore the vintage market along Milan’s Naviglio Grande canal in search of kitch bargains. The market, it turned out, was an antique market, so most of what stretched for 550 stalls along the canal was over 100 years old. One hundred years!

It all got me thinking: What will people sell in vintage markets 100 years from now? What will they treasure? What will gain value? What will last that long? Will anything last that long? I started to imagine my grandchildren peddling a wooden table I’d constructed myself with an Allen key and some tarnished earrings I bought at H&M…

Be it furniture, clothes, shoes, jewelry, music or toys, is the mass production of cheap goods killing the future of vintage? As we become more accustomed to instant gratification, snapping up cheap, quick, easy options wherever we go, are we moving away from ideas of quality and authenticity?

Vintage things are cool, not only because in many cities around the world it’s currently trendy to wear someone’s grandma’s cardigan in order to look fresh, but also because they remind us of a time when convenience and ease wasn’t the goal, when satisfaction came from quality and care rather than quantity and convenience.

Five things to keep until the year 2100

The heavy things librarians made us to look up before the internet existed, which expired every year. There will be volumes collecting dust on a bookshelf somewhere at your parents’ place, no doubt.

Like the crackle of an old vinyl record, the jumping, jittering sounds of a scratched compact disc in an antique boom box will warm the heart.

External hard drives
Archives of the future will probably just be rows and rows of external hard drives, filled with jpgs, blogs, emails and websites. Like tiny, digital time capsules that may or may not contain anything once they emerge from the junk drawers of the future.

I don’t know why. I’ve just got a hunch. They could end up being worth something.

The type that aren’t phones and require actual film. The art of unedited, analogue photography and the joy of waiting days – even weeks – to see how happy snaps turned out will be a thing of the past.