Blog : Skrbblr Post
Posted 22/05/2011 by Lauren Hughes on SKRBBLR
The recession has
seen some of us making major lifestyle changes. Not only are we growing our own
vegetables and skimping on the weekly shop, but a thrifty approach to fashion
has led to vintage becoming an emerging trend.
Leeds City Centre is fast becoming a vintage hotspot, with shoppers
taking advantage of boutiques full of specially sourced one-offs ready to
revamp Topshop-saturated wardrobes everywhere.
So what’s a fashionista to do in these tough times but swap a costly
pair of Louboutins from the third floor of Harvey Nic’s for some seasoned Jimmy
Choo’s? The great thing about vintage is that the same designer names are still
available on a budget – they just come with a little history attached.
Leeds Scribbler spoke to Lorna jasper, vintage expert and owner of
Upstaged, a vintage boutique in the Grand Arcade.
“I do joke that we sell to Leeds’ eccentrics,” said Lorna. “We get a
real variety of people. Everyone from gentlemen looking for vintage shoes to
shoppers exclusively looking for Doctor Martins and to the burlesque girls that
come in for corsets. I meet interesting people every day.”
As well as catering for both men and women, Lorna encounters a variety
of age ranges from fashion-conscious teenagers to elderly women. “I had a
92-year-old buy something the other day,” Lorna said. “She bought a beautiful
coat. It was bright red and it really suited her as she was a real character.
It doesn’t matter how old customers are, they still want to look individual.”
Lorna also encourages vintage novices to give the trend a try, advising
them to mix in exclusive pieces with their existing wardrobe. “I once sold an
original Edwardian frock-coat to an archaeology student. She wore it with high
street jeans and it looked fabulous. I don’t dictate how people should wear
things at all. The idea is that we support people who don’t want to dress in
typical high street fashion, but there is nothing wrong with mixing the two.
When I had a picture done for a magazine displaying my favourite outfit I had
an original 1940s dress on, but I teamed it with a BHS cardigan.”
Though the vintage scene is growing in Leeds, Lorna isn’t fazed by the
competition due to the distinctiveness of each vintage store. “I’d be happy if
even more vintage stores opened as we’re not selling the same things,” she
said. “Each item is a one off piece so you’re not going to find the same piece
anywhere else. We specialise in the 1940s and 1950s dresses, where as a lot of
the other vintage stores cater for a much more recent vintage market from the
1960s, 1970s and 1980s. I will go up to the 1980s, but I draw the line at the
1990s. I don’t consider that vintage, not yet anyway.”
Lorna believes that the increasing popularity is partially down to the
thrifty approach to shopping during the recession, as high quality fabrics are
being sold at far lower prices. The trend has also appealed to shoppers’ sense
of ethical responsibility regarding manufacturing. “Shoppers are aware of some
of the child labour and sweat shop issues concerned with high street fashion,
and it’s not just the cheaper quality stores that have been associated with it.
I don’t like thinking about how cheaply clothes are made, especially if they
involve child labour.
“I’m old enough to remember the last time vintage fashion was really
popular and that was in the 1980s. It seems the more oppressive the government
is, the more reactionary the youth culture is.”
The other obvious benefit is the individualistic nature of vintage.
Rather than emulating a Topshop clone, shoppers are safe in the knowledge that
they won’t have that awkward
“At my son’s prom there were two girls wearing the same dress, and they
were absolutely devastated,” Lorna said. “That’s very unlikely to happen if you
buy from me. If you buy a prom dress from here and someone else has it on I’ll
give you your money back.”