Nostalgia & Quality

(I think the graffiti only adds to the character, don’t you?) Bushwick, Brooklyn New York

Monday morning musings about the tie between nostalgia and the quality of products

“Antique-design table”. “Retro hand-mirror”. “Converted radio flyer planter”. Every which way you turn, something harkens to days past, when it may in fact be brand new.  Nostalgia for days gone by, your younger years, has always been present. However, I feel more and more, in pop articles and articles generated by the bunch, that people are yearning for yesteryear. Why does this seem more prevalanet? Times were always simpler, inventions and such have always existed.

This is a topic that has been long debated, and I won’t profess to having any answer. However, in terms of nostalgia pertaining to home products, this is a lot easier to pin down.

Quality is the key word to this nostalgia for old products, buildings and designs. As I walk along Fulton Street in Brooklyn, I see so many old brownstones being gutted, just empty shells standing, while other less desirable structures are merely bulldozed and new, generic, bland looking buildings are erected in what feels like mere minutes. No decorative detailing, and everything looks eerily temporary, despite the steel beams and cement.

Technology, although wonderful with all we can accomplish, has made the process of mass production possible. The more of something that exists, the less desirable it becomes, as it is not rare, unique. We humans seem to crave uniqueness, why, maybe because we have less and less to worry about. “Too much of a good thing” is perhaps true. If you were to all of a sudden possess 300 Sailor Moon Sculptures, the original would immediately lose its value, its prestige, when before it was as rare as the “Heart of The Ocean” (diamond necklace from Titanic, duh!)

When something is handmade now, we see it as a gift from the heart, something special, something that will ultimately cost more money because it took much more time and skill to produce.  It is something unique, as no mold is being used, no two products can be completely identical.

As time goes by and the technology is honed and perfected, it somehow makes products less and less respectable, despite often improving certain aspects about them. New materials and ways of using old ones to maximize profit and minimize costs are being produced. For example, polyester is cheap, and man-made, and although can imitate silk, it does not hold a candle to the quality of silk, no matter how nice the drape is.

The items hailed from simpler times, when the current worries of the modern world did not exist, or were just a far off future issue that were not actively on our minds. With worrying about whether your Instagram post was filtered enough or if the Starbucks new drink is going to have too many calories, it is nice to rest your eyes on something from a time where you had to wait by the landline phone to hear back from someone and milk cost 10 cents, not 8$ at WholeFoods. Sub-conciously, they sooth us.

Maybe when all of the similar looking brownstones were developed, people felt the same way about them .”Oh look, another 3-window façade with a flowered scroll etched in the cement above them. Not again!” Just because we see NOW that they were quite beautiful structures, doesn’t mean that when they were new, people thought the same thing.

Perhaps it takes a lot of time to pass to realize what we had, to adjust, to accept, to realize that something is not all that bad. Maybe sixty years from now we’ll think that that clothes from Forever21 are something to clamor for, but in the meantime….. I’ll just shop for vintage porcelain dinnerware and other cute vintage items on www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

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Fifteen Reasons To Buy Vintage (Humor)

(Do you think these cups found in Germany from centuries ago would be termed as vintage?) Berlin, Museuminsel

Vintage VS (todays mass) Volume

Open up any Anthropologie magazine, even go to the home décor section in Target. Practically everything you see is vintage inspired. Not just a classic, standard look, like a grandfather clock, but actively attempting to look like it was on your great great great grandmothers first Thanksgiving Day. Vintage is popular- but why not make it authentic? 15 reasons to purchase vintage wares listed below. Disclaimer: our post is all in good fun.

  1. Save money. Vintage formal silverware set from Etsy for $20, plus dinner and a movie, or similar set from (insert home décor store here) for $180? Take the popcorn.
  2. Love Leo. Make Leonardo DiCaprio happier then he was after receiving his Oscar by aiding to making the world a better place and re-using old items. Environmentally friendly!
  3. Receive a quality product. Somehow, despite not having the technologies we do today, older products often are more sturdy and long lasting. I think this is one of the 8th world wonders, forget those hanging gardens of Babylon.
  4. Sense of history, a story comes with each product. Even if you don’t know who owned that vintage silver comb, you can just pretend John Wentworth the Fourth was your wealthy cousin who you inherited your aristocratic nose from.
  5. A truly unique look. No one is going to give you home of the year or include you on the annual house tour if you look like a Pottery Barn magazine (no matter how white your towels are.) People want imagination!
  6. Eliminate massive landfills. We can see amber waves of grain, not big dirt mounds with a forgotten dolly’s arm poking through like a scary movie
  7. Combat pollution and labor issues. Lower the toxic levels of pollution by having less factories churn out endless supplies of generic glass tumblers. We love our world.
  8. Limit family feuds. Take the relief off someone having to have a fight with their mother before she goes to the nursing home and buy those porcelain plates.
  9. Create your own heirlooms. Possibly could create your own heirloom- even if it only cost $5, nostalgia is everything these days.
  10. Support small business. Does the Walton family need to move from 10 to 1 on the billionaires list? (not that we don’t love buying cases of Charmin for $15, but it’s nice to help out and thrift shops that donate to stopping breast cancer and such)
  11. Support worthy causes. Buying vintage from Thrift stores can help noble causes like breast cancer and animal shelters, not just the CEOS Hamptons vacation house he uses twice a summer.
  12. Stand out! Not have your house look like every other suburban 3.5BDR on the block (isn’t the identical façade confusing enough? You don’t want to confuse your teenage kids as they sneak in late one night).
  13. Feel the praise. Guests will heap praise and wonder abut your mysterious ways to procure such interesting products (yard sale last Sunday on Utica and Bainbridge, $3 bucks, but no one need know) Restoration Hardware, right? 😉
  14. De-stress. Mismatched plates are so stress free- no more arguing at the dinner table. If little Johnny go so enthused at re-enacting his all star home run, it doesn’t matter if he swept last nights’ chicken dinner to the floor. Just go and scoop up more plates- matching is so 1950’s housewife.
  15. Play the part. Forget just impersonating the persona of Greta Garbo- I think that mink stole you just picked up looks old enough to have belonged to her. Really look the part

 

See? Don’t you feel better already? Shop Japonicanyc on Etsy for vintage porcelain treasures and dinnerware.