Stitching time: Vintage consumption connects the past, present, and future

Gülen Sarial-Abi, Kathleen D. Vohs, Ryan Hamilton, Aulona Ulqinaku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We investigated a novel avenue for buffering against threats to meaning frameworks: vintage consumption. Although the appeal of vintage goods, defined as previously owned items from an earlier era, is strong and growing, this paper is among the first to examine the possible psychological ramifications of vintage consumption. Six studies found that vintage items mitigated the typical reactions to meaning threats. Four of these studies also showed that vintage consumption facilitates mental connections among the past, present, and future. As a result, people whose meaning structures had been threatened, for example, by being reminded of their own eventual death, preferred vintage products more than others who had not experienced a meaning threat, and more than similar non-vintage products. These findings suggest that meaning disruptions stimulate a desire for intertemporal connections, a desire that vintage products—as existing and continuing symbols of bygone eras—seem to satisfy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society for Consumer Psychology


  • Death awareness
  • Intertemporal connections
  • Meaning threats
  • Vintage consumption


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