Did Kirstie kick it off in the UK? Floral, fragrant, but altogether feisty, Kirstie Allsopp wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty by undertaking a spot of reclaiming, upcycling and altogether enthusiastic rummaging in Channel 4’s Fill Your House for Free a few months back.
And more recently, her compatriot Kevin McCloud has taken on the task with similarly grand fervour. However, while Kirstie gave a new lease of life to discarded furniture et al, our Kev only went and proved the sky’s the limit when it came to salvaging by ripping up an entire passenger plane to re-make all manner of fab things with the components in Kevin’s Supersized Salvage. Check him out, winking at us next to that Jumbo which is about to get some serious upcycling! As Kevin says, “There’s a new culture in design and manufacturing which is looking at waste and saying: why are we chucking this stuff away when it’s such a fantastic resource and we can reuse it?” Wise words.
So it all seems to mean one thing: Reclaimed is the new Vintage
While the UK has gone positively gaga for vintage over the past decade, has it now (re)found a thirst for taking the older things in life and turning them into something new? There are some high-profile advocates taking up the cause, from Salvage Sister, Charis Williams; to Reestore’s Max McMurdo and, of course, Kirst & Kev. And it’s not limited to these shores, across the pond supermodel Gisele Bündchen has a penchant for reclaimed in her home.
Also in the US, the self-named Salvage Sisters, Kathleen Hackett and MaryAnn Young, like nothing better than coming across some battered cast-off left forgotten in an alleyway that they haul off to their workshop for a Cinderella-like makeover with a dash of DIY and lashings of TLC.
Back here, reclaimed has captured the interest of the publishing world just as much as TV. There’s a magazine devoted to upcycling creatively, Reloved; and a plethora of books from Recycled Home by Mark and Sally Bailey, to Reclaiming Style by Maria Speake, Adam Hills and Hettie Judah.
It’s beginning to look like vintage has, well, had its day, huh? Er, maybe not. Vintage is all over the place: stretching from tucked away village halls to its ubiquitous presence on the Internet on countless websites and blogs. It’s going nowhere fast.
But vintage and reclaimed do have lots in common. Sharing the philosophy of stand-out-from-the-crowd individuality, the desire to kick back against rampant consumerism, and a lively-eyed sheer sense of good old-fashioned fun!
So, is reclaimed the new vintage? Perhaps they are more siblings; two chips off the reclaimed old block.