Vintage is an attribute that defines the qualities and value of an object worn or produced at least twenty years before the present moment, but which can also refer to past centuries. 

The word derives from the old French vint (twenty) age (years), intended as produced at least twenty years earlier and, at least initially, it was used to indicate the wines harvested and of the best vintages. In the same way that wine, as it ages, acquires characteristics that make it more valuable, also objects and products - mostly belonging to the cultural industry such as clothes, accessories, jewellery, design objects and cars - acquire greater value over time.

A product can be defined as authentically vintage if, in addition to reflecting the charm of the past, it has some requirements related to the aesthetic and manufacturing rarity of that product: 

Date: it is necessary to consider the age of objects and garments. Products can be defined as vintage if they date back at least two decades earlier (20 years earlier) to the contemporary period. Where the products are older than a century (10 decades or 100 years earlier), we speak of antiques.  

Quality: the products are characterized by a design and a fine manufacturing, as well as being difficult to reproduce. Often vintage products are “unique pieces”, when referring to handmade objects. The fact that the product is of high quality is a fundamental requirement whether it belongs to a well-known brand or to an unidentifiable manufacturer. 

Style representative of a specific era: the products are often iconic products, which embody the social and customs characteristics of a specific era. This is why many vintage objects, which identify designers and artists and a particular historical moment, become works exhibited in museums. It is precisely the link with the past that gives the products a particular value and often distinguishes them from the counterparts produced in the contemporary era, created in series and widely available. 

Brand: to define a product as vintage it is not essential that it belongs to a famous brand because the name refers to the intrinsic quality of the product. At the same time, over time pieces have been created that, precisely because of the designers who created them or the testimonials who made them famous, have become iconic and have remained famous in the collective imagination, becoming the most sought after, desired and renowned. 

Merchandise rarity: due not only to its unrepeatability in the contemporary market but also to the materials used in the production of the product - which have fallen into disuse or have become unobtainable - or to the production process, based on particular processes that are no longer carried out today due to the excessive cost. 

Vintage clothing is a sector within the second-hand clothing industry that is showing steady growth and it is a popular choice in contemporary fashion circle with high end consumers, celebrities and press, all taking a keen interest in second hand choices.  

There is evidence that in the field of fashion, in particular, wearing a vintage dress is a stance: recycling the existing to be sustainable. In fact an influence can be attributed to growing ecological and ethical concerns among consumers. Because vintage fashion mainly consists of second-hand garments, it doesn’t involve the production of new ones; secondly, choosing to wear vintage fashion helps consumers break the vicious cycle of fast fashion trends; finally most retro garments were actually made to last, much like sustainable fashion. So, choosing vintage clothes will usually allow you to reduce waste. In practice, the interest in vintage is part of the intertwining of change, time and circularity which is the exemplification of an eternal return of the imperfect where nothing reappears externally as it was.  

As we have seen in the previous lines, the theme of vintage is particularly widespread in the field of fashion or, more generally, in those sectors that have to do with objects that are at least twenty years old and have become cult over time because they are produced with high quality materials (such as fine wines) or because they have marked customs and culture to such an extent that after decades they are still considered precious and inimitable. They can be vintage clothes, accessories, bijoux, furniture, records, guitars, computers, video games; but also bicycles, cars, motorbikes. 

The food sector has a different relationship with the productions of the past since only in rare cases - think of wines for example, it is possible to consume products created twenty years ago today. However, food pays homage to the past through retro: recalling a taste of the past in a contemporary production. 

In Milan: 

  • Cavalli e Nastri 
  • Bivio Milano 


  • Vinted 
  • Depop 


Depop is an online peer-to-peer social shopping platform that allows its users to sell and buy clothing, accessories and other items of various kinds. The name Depop comes from the union of the French term "depot" (deposit) with the English word "pop" (popular). The startup was born in Milan in 2011 from an idea by Simon Beckerman. Initially, the Milanese entrepreneur took advantage of the H-Farm digital platform for his idea, and then decided in 2012 to move and develop the company in London. In the first two years of its life, the app bore the name of Garage, which was then changed to Depop in 2013. In the years following offices in Milan, New York and Los Angeles were opened. Thanks to these last two openings it was possible to spread Depop also on American territory. Powered by more than 300 people and with around 20 million registered users, today Depop is a place where people from all over the world gather to celebrate their style and discover different cultures. Depop is laying the foundations for opening new offices in France, Germany, Canada and Asia, by translating the app into the reference language and creating local teams. The most active users of Depop are found in the UK, the US and Italy. In 2018, the platform registered over 4 million new users and 500 million searches carried out, thus reaching an average of one item for sale every second. The diffusion of Depop has more involved the audience of Millennials and Generation Z because in addition to being characterized by a growing individuality, it provides them with a way to recycle unwanted items for money. Depop is used on the one hand by buyers or those who want to buy cheap clothes, on the other by sellers who sell part of their wardrobe that they no longer use. Sellers can be people who sell second-hand pieces, or small businesses that offer a range of different products, or even emerging designers who use this platform to make their creations known. By selling the items you can build your own Depop shop. 

a) Academic/peer reviewed 

Frisa M. L., 2022, Le forme della moda, Il Mulino, Bologna. 

Jenß H., 2004, “Dressed in History: Retro Styles and the Construction of Authenticity in Youth Culture” in Fashion Theory 8(4): 387–404. 

Palmer A., Hazel C., 2005, Old Clothes, New Looks: Second Hand Fashion, Berg, Oxford.  

Spazzali C., My luxury vintage. Viaggio nel monto del vintage fashion di lusso., 2018, p. 4. 

Sacchi S., Improvvisamente...l'abito scorso: stile vintage e limited edition nelle scelte di merchandising e buying del settore moda, F. Angeli, 2017, ISBN 978-88-917-6066-1, OCLC 1045102920. 

Veenstra A.,  Kuipers G., 2013, “It Is Not Old-Fashioned, It Is Vintage, Vintage Fashion and The Complexities of 21st Century Consumption Practices”, in Sociology  Compass7/5 (2013): 355–365. 

Wilson E., 2008, Vestirsi di Sogni. Moda e modernità, Franco Angeli, Milano.  

b) Other sources