Wednesday, February 3, 2010
On the ethics of alteration
What are the generally accepted ethics of altering vintage clothing? Where do the boundaries lie between alterations to fit, and, say, customisation? I bought a 1940s maxi skirt, but I want it to be a knee-length skirt. Should vintage clothing be considered sacred, and if I don't want to wear it as it is should I allow someone else to do so? What if I want to alter the high, round neck on a 1950s dress to become a (still period-appropriate) sweetheart neckline?
Joanna thinks that we should allow ourselves some latitude to alter vintage to suit our needs, pointing out that the aforementioned skirt might as well be reinvented and enjoyed, rather than left as it is and remain unworn, in the same way as she happily chops up vintage fabrics to make quilts and other lovelies. After all, that's the whole spirit of "make do and mend" that was prevalent in the days when it was produced.
Next step: learn how to make alterations...