My View, Mel Hewitt: Who can resist a retro-style bargain?

My favourite kind of recycling is definitely buying old stuff.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 3:34 pm
Doncaster market

I do know it’s fashionable to call anything that has managed to survive for a few decades vintage these days. There’s a whole industry that has now built up around our need to buy loud, bright orange flower-patterned cushions, or dainty tea cups just like grandma used to bring out on a Sunday.

Even though I wage war in my house against a tide of stuff that has found a home on every available surface, the lure of an interesting book or trinket found for 50p is often too hard to ignore.

Woody Allen’s film ‘Midnight in Paris’ looks at the power of nostalgia and the feeling people sometimes have that they were born in the wrong era. It looks with charm, humour and poignancy at the pull of the past and the many reasons why it can sometimes feel so appealing.

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Each generation faces a process of gaining and losing. We may not be travelling in style, pulled by charismatic steam trains, but travel to far flung shores is easier. Places our grandparents could only dream about or see in films are now within reach.

Sadly two generations ago the main reason for our forefathers travelling abroad was most likely to be due to their deployment in times of war.

Still, for those of us with a romantic disposition what could be more attractive than steam trains and brief encounters, coupled with the stylish outfits that film stars used to carry off with aplomb and housewives dreamed about buying. There has always been a yearning for the past, particularly when the present can seem hard to take and doom laden at times.

The past of course has the advantage of being able to present itself in super shiny edited highlights – and deep down although we know this isn’t the whole, or real picture, it can still deliver a roseate glow. As can the little parcels of the past that vintage can bring into your life. I can still remember my grandma’s brightly coloured paste and crystal jewellery from the 1920s.

Not content with picking up the occasional nik-nak from a shop or market I also love what I call the ‘new’ vintage. New vintage to me is the modern, innovative design created with more than a nod to the work of the past.

As well as the more nationally and globally known purveyors of retro fashion, stylish accessories and home-ware, there are many local artisans who make wonderful things. So whether you’re after a jointed teddy bear, or made to measure dress that looks as though you just waved goodbye to Trevor Howard from the platform, do try to seek out local artists who can make it happen.

For those looking for something genuinely older there is an antique and bric-a-brac market every Wednesday in Doncaster.