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Vintage & Retro Styling

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What's the difference between 'Vintage and 'Retro'?

For me, in terms of interiors and more specifically referring to fabrics and curtains, 'Vintage' describes an antique product from the past century while 'Retro' refers to a product or design which is influenced by the style of the past century but which is actually new. Perhaps the most famous and commercially available example of Retro style is the Cath Kidston brand.

But what are the advantages of Retro products as opposed to Vintage?

1. Genuine vintage fabrics can be very difficult to source. If you search for 'vintage fabrics' on Ebay, you will find thousands of results, but most of these fabrics are retro rather than genuinely vintage.   

2. As they are in shorter supply than retro fabrics, bona fide vintage fabrics will be more expensive and will make a rather large hole in your decortaing budget!

3. Vintage fabrics can have worn, damaged patches or areas. Specialist knowledge and skills are required to preserve textiles in immaculate condition. Thought has to be given to how they are folded/rolled in order to avoid permanent creasing and fading. The materials used to pack the texties can cause chemical reactions which destroy the fibres and/or colours. Putting your Granny's curtains in a plastic carrier bag and bunging them in the loft for 10 years is not going to preserve them in a great condition.

4. It is sad but true that many vintage fabrics have a distinctive Eau de Charity Shop aroma that cannot be removed even if you were brave/foolish enough to put them through a washing machine! Most fabrics come with a 'dry clean only' instruction, vintage fabrics are more likely than most to demand specialist cleaning techniques.

5. Becuase of the issues listed above, it is very unusual to find a roll of vintage fabric comprising enough material to make a pair of curtains up in. An average window uses 10m of fabric, the kind of quantities vintage fabric is usually available in makes it more suitable for soft furnishing accessories such as cushions, tablecloths or wall-hangings.

If you would rather save yourself the time, money and stress of seeking out that perfect vintage fabric but would like an interior scheme that take sthe best from the past and brings it into the present, then take a look at our selection of retro inspired fabcirs. We've made a pin board up on Pinterest to showcase our favourites: Curtains Curtains Curtains Retro Inspired Favourites.


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