out with the new

20.9.10

Much earlier this year I wrote an article on vintage shopping (in a broad, mass-market kind of way haha) for a new Melbourne-based magazine, but unfortunately the people behind it seem to have given up and/or gone bust so I'm not sure if it's ever actually going to make it to print, so I thought I'd share it here.

Most of you will be well aware of the lovely ladies I interviewed (and their fantastic vintage stores!), many thanks to Nicole of Circa Vintage, Jules of Poppet and Trish of TrishHunterFinds for their insider info!

Article as follows:

Amid the sea of black and more recently tones of grey often donned by Melbourne's fashion elite and kids-about-town, the discerning style spotter will have noticed the rise of a fashion that has been altogether less stoic over recent years. Bang-on trend or 30 years out, available in styles you may never have imagined (or tried to forget), not limited by age or sex, vintage style is back in a big way, and there has never been a better time to embrace it.

While there will always be those who smile smugly as you compliment their gorgeous jacket, dress or bag and inform you that it only cost them $3.00 at the Salvo's (probably not long after it was originally in fashion, precious little costs that these days) not everyone is cut out for trawling through piles of bad denim and poorly made tops from chain stores to unearth that treasured item. Luckily, there are now many options available to those who want to wear vintage and retro clothing and whether you're a seasoned collector or first time buyer the thrill of slipping on that perfect garment and subsuming the history it carries is hard to beat.

For the shrewd shopper websites such as Ebay and Etsy can proffer unique bargains from all corners of the world, but to truly score here you need to have a bit of background knowledge. Familiarise yourself with the popular styles and design features from the era you're looking at buying from - some fantastic tips can be found in the book "Love Vintage" (Carter's) , written by Australian vintage authority and owner of Circa Vintage Clothing, Nicole Jenkins - and keep a tape measure handy, as vintage sizing is not the same as sizing today. Don't be afraid to ask the seller questions about the condition of the item and check their feedback rigorously, or you might find that what looked like an amazing 40's frock is actually an 80's-does-40's getup with stains that wasn't worth the shipping cost.

If this all sounds a bit daunting, Melbourne has no lack of knowledgeable and enthusiastic experts to help you find that perfect vintage piece. To start, head over to 102 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy to meet Nicole at Circa Vintage, filled with beautiful fabrics and interesting vintage styles restored to their former glory or 123 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North where Jules will show you vintage and retro goodies for ladies and gents, plus adorable handmade toys and accessories (and even a few wigs!). For those who are time poor, in remote locations or just looking for retro-fabulous clothing and collectables Trish of online store Trish Hunter Finds (www.trishhunterfinds.com) showcases everything from 50's party frocks to 80's videogames, and even takes requests if you're on the hunt for something specific!

As the cycle of fashion dictates, everything old is new again, so your vintage find might be the next high-fashion trend, with the added benefits of being environmentally considerate, made to last and one-of-a-kind.

Jules Musgrove - Poppet Vintage 123 Scotchmer St North Fitzroy

1. When did you first start collecting?
When I was in Primary school my nan would take me to the op shop in a little town near where we lived....I have loved treasure hunting ever since.

2. What is your favourite vintage era?
I love the 60's....all 10 glorious years of it! So much happened in fashion that decade, it really must have been an amazing time to be alive.

3. Is there a particular style or item that you'd never turn down when sourcing for your store?
I can't resist a good red dress....if it's from the 50's or 60's even better!

4. Do you personally wear vintage/retro every day?
I love vintage, but every day is a lot to ask for! I find I've got to incorporate some modern basics now and then, otherwise getting dressed everyday could prove troublesome....but the vintage aesthetic is always the focus.

5. What is your best find of all times? - Do you still have it or did you sell it on?
I found a stunning blue silk beaded dress circa 1918 for $10. It is falling apart, but I love it dearly.....such beauty and history in a hand-made dress....just touching it gives me the goosebumps.

6. Have you ever seen an item you've sold being worn on the street?
Oh yes! a few times actually....It always makes me so excited!

Nicole Jenkins - Circa Vintage Clothing 102 Gertrude St Fitzroy

1. What is your favourite vintage era?
I rotate through all the eras, as every decade is great for something or other - '30s for evening wear, '50s for party frocks and leisure wear....but mostly I wear '40s and '50s because they're particularly well suited for curvy ladies over thirty.

2. Is there a particular style or item that you'd never turn down when sourcing for your store?
Absolutely - I'm always on the hunt for ladies jackets, suits and coats from the '40s, Swimwear up to the early '60s, floral teagowns from the '30s, ballgowns from the '50s. As for mens wear, I love accessories like scarves, cravats, cufflinks and tie pins and tailored suits from any era before the late '70s.

3. Do you personally wear vintage/retro every day?
I like to wear head to toe vintage in the shop but much of what I do is a little impractical for sixty year old frocks - so for every day tasks I might wear a modern frock in a vintage style with a vintage petticoat and accessories. I'm a big fan of petticoats, stockings and suspenders and wear them most of the time.

4. What is your best find of all times? - Do you still have it or did you sell it on?
Probably a hand-painted silk coat by Paul Poiret. Perhaps I should have kept it but I like to make nice things available for people, so it's now in the personal collection of a fashion designer. There are a lot of beautiful things in the world.

5. How do you assess the quality of a vintage item?
Mostly it's about condition - I check for signs of wear and stains that won't come out (I do lots of stain removal so have a good idea of what won't budge). Of course, it helps if it was well made to begin with, but for garments pre-1960s (which is most of what I do), the quality of manufacture is almost always very high. A clear indicator is a quality fabric - I like natural fibres best but even the nicest frock can be damaged too much to be resurrected. I don't like synthetic fabrics (polyesters) so the design has to have merit for me to consider it.

6. Have you ever seen an item you've sold being worn on the street?
Many times - it's a wonderful feeling. There's nothing better than the satisfaction you can get from dressing someone well, and seeing them enjoying their special vintage garment.

Trish Hunter - Trish Hunter Finds www.trishhunterfinds.com

1. When did you first start collecting?
I've always been a collector. As soon as I had two of anything it was a collection. As a kid I collected Cows, Business cards, 5 cent coins, Rocks, the list goes on... but I began collecting Vintage about 5/6 years ago. It started with a passion for the 80's (Collecting all the things I wish I had had when I was young) then as the years went on, and as I learned more, I found more interest in the earlier years.

2. What is your favourite vintage era?
I love the 50's and 60's. So much was exciting and new. I love that people then, could actually experience something new! Like TV in 1956. Imagining the feeling of actually seeing something that has never ever existed before, and something as full on as TV, would have been AMAZING!
I also love the enthusiasm, happiness, colour and of course fashion of the eras.

3. Is there a particular style or item that you'd never turn down when sourcing for your store?
My dream item is to get my hands on a Warhol Souper Dress. They pop up on eBay reasonably regularly, so I guess I have turned it down before... but I just know I'll find one in an opshop one day and that's how I'd like to come across it. Things are always much better when you get that tight chest and the shakes when you actually get to FIND the item you desire. Hmm that wasn't really the question was it? Any 1950's classic party frocks are hard to turn down as they're always so well made and make every figure look FABULOUS!

4. Do you personally wear vintage/retro every day?
I've culled out most of my modern clothing to make room for my Vintage, so I wake up with no option... which I have no problem with except when it's 43 degrees and I have a wardrobe of unbreathable polyesters.... then I wish I had something light and breathable to chuck on. I still like to wear my old band tshirts and jeans when I go marketing early on a Sunday though. Bending over to pick up things on the ground in a mini dress doesn't really work, so comfy wins in that case.

5. What is your best find of all times? - Do you still have it or did you sell it on?
Gosh... My best find would have to be... I really have NO idea! Each week when I pick up something new it always seems to become my new most favorite thing. And then I find a new piece and then that's the new favorite. I guess that's kind of good as I don't get too attached to my finds, so I can actually part with it and put it in my shop without tears. Gosh that sounds so heartless. I bet I think of all these favorite things later on!

1 comment:

Super Kawaii Mama said...

Brilliant! All fabulous ladies doing fabulous things for Melbourne vintage. LOVE! :)