Vintage: The New Second-Hand

It really has been a while since I sat down to nattered about some of my décor quirks. Marica and I do a great deal of discussion around quirky décor topics, trends, matters that are hot and not. Somehow, our little office space is just so conducive to these types of discussion. I should actually get a recording devise of some sorts (could try my smart phone I guess), just to be able to recall some of our comments.  It gets pretty awesome at times.

If I happen to repeat myself here, possibly having sprouted out my opinion around ‘old things’ in the past, please just be kind enough to humour me a tad.

Love this collection of old suitcases from Capetonian décor hire company, My Pretty Vintage.

As you might have guessed, I have been around in this trade for many a year and have been privileged to witness interior design and décor evolve, seen the changes that happen ever so slowly, but ever so surely. In fact, it is quite amazing to watch décor and fashion do the full circle. As a Baby Boomer, I have experienced some seriously evolutionary and sometimes even revolutionary shifts.  My Era has spanned from the advent of Rock ‘n Roll in the 50’s; The Beatles in the 60’s; the Hippies and Flower Power of the early 70’s; the Disco and big hair age of the 80’s; The Naughty 90’s right across into the current 20 – something era. Seen it all – been there, done it, got the T-Shirt and tossed it!

Some retro kitchenalia from

Until recently, anything that belonged to the previous decade and had been outgrown – be it jewellery, art and prints, furniture, lighting, ‘ornaments’ (as we called it, but otherwise known as accessories today), kitchenware, etc. – was known as ‘second-hand’. Any of the mentioned ‘old fashioned’ articles / items that had outlived their usefulness, were only good enough to make their way to the shelves of the ‘Second-hand Dealer Shoppe’. And the really-not-cool-at- all stuff was regarded as trash, winding its way to either the church or local school to be sold at the next fund raising fete. Those notorious ‘white elephant’ stalls.

Some random bargain second-hand goodies from The Milnerton Flea Market.

However, I am now in a place where fashion and décor is completing its circle and all things past are now the present trend again. How about that hey! Somehow I did not suspect that this would happen to me. This resurgence of all things past (50s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s 90’s) did not find me very comfortable with having to be faced with the stuff that I grew up with. Why would mom’s old-fashioned lounge furniture and ‘kitchenalia’ be popular again?

“Whatnot and China Town” in Kalk Bay is a vintage treasure trove! Photo: Coda via Flickr

But for many reasons, second-hand has come of age, earning the respected title or label of ‘Vintage’.  Which we have to admit is a much kinder term. The current decade sees the Old Junk Shop in Woodstock Main Road (Cape Town for the out-of-towners) now happily calling itself ‘Woodstock Vintage’ and doing a very healthy trade. Largely due to the fact that an appreciation for all things that have a history continues to gain popularity, with demand on the increase. Now second-hand is no longer anathema, but a trend. There have always been decorators, dealers and people who know the value in something second-hand, but until now it was never a trend.

Despite the fact that there was a definite resistance to seeing my parents ‘stuff’ make headlines again, the appreciate and fascination of all places, spaces and things historical has pulsed through my veins for as long as I can remember. I too have had to re-visit and change my attitude of second-hand goods, to appreciate the vintage qualities in them.

Denise Kiggan of Freshly Found loves her old scales. The one on the right is a heirloom.

In closing let me tell you a story recently told to me by the owner of ‘Woodstock Vintage’. While weaving through a maze of shelves, groaning under the weight of all his ‘vintage-ware’ I asked him how he unearthed all his stock. Apparently, it all started when he took occupation of a new home.  There was a store room filled to capacity with the previous owner’s unclaimed ‘junk’.  When after a few weeks he needed to clear out that store room, he decided on a pavement sale. To his amazement, the junk flew off the tables. This naturally led to another pavement sale and things just grew from there. In his words: “I never knew there was so much money to be made from selling junk (uhhmm… correction… Vintage / Treasures) – particularly now!

Second-hand never looked so good. Having come to terms with this trend now, I conclude by saying: Viva Vintage Trend, Viva – long may it last!

Yours in service of interiors 🙂

[Images sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]


5 thoughts on “Vintage: The New Second-Hand

  1. I am a complete secondhand junkie!!!

    Just avoid the C**h C*******S type stores as they are generally more expensive then buying retail.

    You do need to know your prices before shopping at 2nd Handstores and Fleamarkets – most of the shop/stall owners dont ever buy retail and thumbsuck prices!!!

  2. Hi Rose,

    How are you doing?

    Love this article, I completely relate and understand – had to laugh as I felt the same when looking at all the stuff that my Gran had that has come back into fashion.

    In the spirit of “Vintage” thought you will appreciate Gavin’s new genre of painting – “Gavin Collins Vintage Series” – he noticed as well 🙂 .

    Let me know what you think – he is testing the market 🙂 .

    Much love,


    • Hey Amanda – glad you could also giggle about the return of ‘ our heritage’ items. I would love to see that series you mentioned. Where am I likely to find it? On Facebook?

  3. East London (SA) has a “vintage’ store as well, with the most incredible finds and with prices so reasonable. She has the most awesome, and no doubt valuable old signboards. But unfortunately will not part with it, as it gives her shop character.

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