Thursday, 18 October 2018

Trash & Treasure - Fast Fashion Vs Vintage Gems

I'd love to regale you with tales about our recent adventures but we've done little else than work and shop. My unoperated hip's been a bit of a nightmare since we got back from Greece (I blame those steps at Askeplion) so anything that involves more than walking a very short distance is pretty much off limits at the moment. No exercise, no platforms, loads of painkillers...boring!

Vintage Village wasn't a great success sales-wise but we had a laugh and, as always, caught up with a few pals and picked up some great stuff. My vintage nightie and Mum's 1960s Biba boots caught the eye of fabulous fair photographer, David Kennedy.

Source: @veshoevius

After watching Stacey Dooley's horrifying documentary about the catastrophic effect of fast fashion on the planet I'm delighted to see that hugely influential people like Ari Seth Cohen, the man behind the legendary Advanced Style blog, are discussing the need to reconsider our appetite for fast fashion (HERE). My friend Michelle, who used to blog at The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe, is encouraging Instagrammers to eschew the new and style their existing wardrobes instead. Although most of the people I follow on IG are secondhand/vintage shoppers it's refreshing to see familiar clothes worn in different combinations and to read the stories behind much-loved pieces.

Here's yesterday's contribution - a vintage housecoat, 1970s corset belt & reversible Indian block printed quilted jacket, a charity shopped hat and a Banjara tribal necklace - all items I've owned for ages (and years, in some cases).

Today it's the turn of my vintage Collier Campbell wool maxi (previously seen with a matching marabou feather trim capelet) which I've teamed with a 1970s fringed suede cape I bought from fellow Moseley Vintage fair trader, Lost Orchid Vintage Store at the start of the festival season.

Please join in with Michelle's quest and let's show the world that you don't need an endless supply of new clothes to have style. If, like me, you're not a smartphone owner, you can post to Instagram on your PC via Gramblr - it's safe to use and you won't be inundated with spam and no, I'm not being paid to advertise it!

Source: @sjdooley

While I've been wearing secondhand clothes since I was a child and posting my vintage finds and outfits on my blog for almost a decade, I have to put my hands up and admit that even I have succumbed to the lure of fast fashion. Before I travelled to Gujarat I ordered two maxi dresses from a well-known British fashion forward website which I obviously won't link to. I wanted dresses that were arm covering, lightweight, crease-resistant and which I wouldn't be too upset about if my luggage got lost in transit (which it did). I must admit it was a revelation to be able to choose my exact size and to find a petite fit - I'm used to taking my secondhand finds in and up!

As you probably remember from my subsequent travel blog posts, I wore both these dresses more or less constantly and I was amazed how many people in Gujarat approached me to tell me that the fabric they were made from was produced in India. The dresses survived the trip and are packed away in my travel case so, in my case, they weren't throwaway but while I was happy with them, I didn't love them and certainly wouldn't wear them at home. The kimono style dress is full of static but, as I liked the style, I got a tailor in Goa to run me up a copy in some vintage block printed Indian cotton..

The company I bought them from has a decent ethical policy and regularly checks on its workers and their working environment but it's not good to be able to buy two brand new dresses for less than £12, is it? I can understand why our charity shops are stuffed full of fast fashion, who feels guilty about giving something away that cost less than a pizza? If I'd been better organised I know that could have found dresses to match my criteria secondhand and altered them to fit. Although I was satisfied with my purchases I won't be doing it again - nothing beats finding the perfect thing secondhand, does it?

When I realised that I needed something smart & fairly conservative for a funeral I'm going to tomorrow I didn't go searching the internet for a cheap black dress with next day delivery, I took myself down to Walsall's charity shops and scoured the rails for something suitable. In all honesty I was fully expecting to end up with some drab high street dress which I'd donate back once it had fulfilled its purpose so I was amazed when I came across this 1940s crepe day dress nestling amongst the mediocre high street cast-offs. I had thought I'd sell it on when I'd worn it but the fit is so good it's a keeper.

Who needs to buy new (and further pollute the planet) when fabulous pre-owned treasure is readily available? Yes, it takes hours of dedicated searching, the washing machine is constantly on and I've lost count of the number of buttons I've replaced, linings I've repaired and hems I've resewn but secondhand clothes still rock my world!

Without further ado, here's some of this week's finds:

Clockwise from top left: 1960s Yorkshire-made navy leather coat; Boiler suit; Barretts of Feckenham blue sheepskin coat; 1960s silk kaftan; 1960s Greek embroidered linen leisure shirt; 1960s Hepworths three button blazer; 1960s spoon collared suede bomber jacket

Clockwise from top left: 1970s Hardy Amies checked sports jacket; Rayon Indian kurta with pom pom trim; 1970s st Michael gentleman's velvet jacket; Vintage Afghani dress; 1970s leather bomber jacket; Organic cotton Fabindia block printed kurta; 1970s deadstock Lee waistcoat; 1950s wool boucle jacket; 

Clockwise from top left: Third Eye 1970s block printed maxi skirt (mine!); Rayon kurta with mirror work; 1970s Korean vinyl Penny Lane jacket; 1970s silk Indian maxi (mine!); 1960s Bickler shaggy fake fur snuggle coat; 1970s belted leather jacket; Royal Air Force flying suit.
We're trading with Judy's Affordable Vintage in Leamington Spa on Saturday (HERE). We haven't traded with Judy's for ages and I'm looking forward to catching up with our trader friends but dreading the load - the stairs are bad enough when my hip's normal.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

She Drew The Gunne

I'm not sure if my latest eBay purchase is a Gunne Sax - it's a cheesecloth-type of fabric, American made with an ILGWU tag but no brand labels and with the Renaissance-inspired corset-style laced bodice it has definitely got the look. It was listed with a Buy It Now price of £8 so I didn't think twice, I clicked the button and bought it straightaway.

I can't make head nor tail of American sizing but this vintage dress is marked as a Size 5 and fits perfectly. I'm thrilled that it's still warm enough to step out in white cheesecloth. If this unseasonably hot weather is payoff for our terrible winter then bring on another Beast from the East.

I wore my new-to-me maxi with my exotic snakeskin Gohill's boots from 1966 which, you may remember were given to me by the favourite teacher (HERE). The choker came from Biba and was Mum's back in the 1960s.

We've had another full-on week of stock hunting and have been all over the place looking for choice vintage gear. Yesterday was the turn of the East Midlands and, as it was another glorious day, I wore my 1960s embroidered Indian cotton hippy-tastic maxi dress with a quilted Phool waistcoat and a shedload of Indian tribal jewellery.

This was last Friday's outfit. The amazing burn-out velvet bells were from the fabulous Suzanne Carillo and the 1970s Jeff Banks W1 tunic was an absolute bargain from a Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair a couple of years ago (it's twin is currently on eBay for £165). The cherry coloured wooden bead thong necklace was Mum's favourite thing to wear when she was expecting me and the leather & suede 1960s-does-Victorian lace-up boots were £1 from a car boot sale.

Stock hunting hasn't been half bad. Here's a few of the pieces we've picked up this week.

Clockwise from top left: 1960s Psych midi dress: Windsmoor coral belted Spring coat; Ethnic tunic; 1960s pussy bow mini dress; 1970s Prova maxi; Vintage pussy bow blouse; Jaeger cotton velvet jacket; 1960s High Class sheepskin; 1960s Dereta wool coat.

Clockwise from top left: 1970s ethnic-inspired midi dress; Tissavel fake leopard coat (RESERVED); 1970s handmade day dress; Butte Knit pussy bow blouse; 1960s dress suit; Hand knit bag; 1970s bird print pussy bow blouse; 1980s Velvet and gold dot midi dress; 1970s Ladies pride day dress

Clockwise from top left: 1970s Dereta wool coat; 1970s fake wrap midi; 1970s floral midi; Pussy bow day dress; 1960s wool shift; Fake fur jacket; Mr John for Liberty, London wool blouse; Printed day dress; Frill collar midi dress

Clockwise from top left: 1980s leather flying jacket; English-made chores jacket; 1970s belted mac; Hepworths car coat; Vintage Wrangler denim jacket; 1960s Crombie overcoat; American chores jacket; 1960s suede country waistcoat.
You'll find us (and our latest wares) at Vintage Village this Sunday. I'm not quite sure what to wear for a scary fair - some people might say that I'm a terrifying enough sight already (especially when I've left the house at 6am).

It's Wednesday which means it's Apprentice and rum night. Not too much booze though, yet another day of shopping awaits tomorrow.

See you soon!

PS If you get a chance you have to watch Stacey Dooley Investigates: Are Your Clothes Wrecking The Planet? If you've ever been a consumer of fast fashion, I guarantee this will ruin your appetite. (HERE)

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

All The Leaves Are Brown...

...but the skies aren't grey!

Autumn, it's definitely upon us and, unusually for us Brits, October's got off to a warm start so I can flounce around in my favourite cotton maxis without having to hide them away under coats.

Photo courtesy of Pop Up Vintage

Autumn is the busiest time of year for vintage selling and on Sunday, with the alarm set for 4.30am, we travelled to East London to trade at the Brick Lane and Friends Festival.

Pop up gazebos were supplied by Tower Hamlets council so all we had to do was bring our rails, our stock, one of our Moroccan outdoor rugs and ourselves!

I know, I don't need another dress but, when I spotted a gold studded trumpet sleeve attached to a maxi decorated with a mythical beast print on another trader's rails at Walthamstow a fortnight ago, I knew it had to be mine. 

 Brick Lane is uber cool and I last visited with some blogging pals five years ago (HERE). I know, where does the time go? I thought Suzanne would appreciate the Pug poster.

Never be beige.

These Topshop leather space boots are absurdly comfortable, perfect for a long day on my feet. They were so cheap in their end of season sale last year that I ended up buying two pairs.

WEARING: Shubette of London Mythical beast print maxi (Viva Vintage), 1970s velvet jacket with witchy sleeves (Liebchen Vintage)
Being of a slightly obsessive nature, I can never just rock up to an event and hope for the best. We always do a dummy run in the garden (we've got a pop-up gazebo for when it rains), measure out our floor space and set up the rails. At catering college, my lecturers used to impress upon us the importance of the five Ps, Poor Planning leads to a Piss Poor Performance. Whilst there's no guarantee that any punters will turn up or, if they do, they'll like anything you sell or fit into anything on your rails, at least you know that you've made the best possible use of your allocated space.

WEARING: Vintage 1970s printed cotton maxi skirt (99p Ebay bargain, years ago), Kate Moss for Topshop silk hippy blouse (found in a charity shop last week for £3)

That'll do!

Wearing: Vintage pink & silver Lurex maxi skirt and a 1970s Richard Green Shirt Company blouse I found in a chazza earlier in the week. 

On Friday I put on my big girl knickers and booked in for a hair cut. It had been almost twelve months since my last visit (and before then, a whopping 12 years ago!) I told the salon's style director to do whatever he liked, I just wanted long hair and to not look fashionable. He told me not to be alarmed with the amount of hair he was chopping off and I was very happy when he showed me the finished result, the length seemed about the same but it felt a whole lot healthier. The long layers give it more of a 1970s vibe.

WEARING: 1960s red wool maxi (charity shop), kids' vintage velvet embroidered waistcoat (eBay), Banjara choker (a pressie from the amazing artist, Ilaria Novelli), 1960s does Victorian lace-up boots (car boot sale)

You can thank me for the unseasonably (and gorgeous) warm weather we've had lately - I packed all my summer clothes away the day after Walthamstow! The first half of this week was quite chilly so I was glad of this vintage red wool dress & velvet waistcoat to go out chazzing on Tuesday morning. I love getting the clothes out of the suitcases on top of the wardrobe and rediscovering my winter clothes all over again - it's like shopping for free.

WEARING: Kate Beaver hand printed maxi dress (found in a £1 charity shop, three years ago)

On Wednesday it was warm enough to go out in a cotton dress. Jon and I went on an epic charity shopping road trip and were out for hours. We even treated ourselves to lunch in 'Spoons, something we haven't done in ages, in fact it's been so long that the menu had changed! I highly recommend the roasted vegetable and hummus wrap. 

WEARING: Vintage Adini block printed Indian cotton maxi dress, 1970s hat, River Island suede platforms (all charity shopped)

Today was another warm one with a day of yet more chazzing. We've sold an unbelievable amount of stock in September (despite a quarter of the month being spent in Greece) and the stockroom rails are emptier than they've been in years. Vintage hunting is like a full time job but a lot more fun, especially when I find stuff for me - like this vintage brown felt hat, something I've been after for ages!

Clockwise from top left: 1960s suede boots; 1970s Windsmoor cape (it's not beige, it's camel!); 1980s off-the-shoulder midi dress; 1960s-does-Victorian cotton velvet maxi; 1970s Bickler wool coat; 1960s trouser suit; 1970s wool cape; 1970s Windsmoor blazer; Bus Stop novelty applique jumper, 1960s mohair coat.

And talking of chazzing - I sold everything I bought last week before I got a chance to photograph it, arghhh! Here's this week's finds (there's menswear as well but I'd run out of time). Do I keep the Bus Stop jumper? It's not my usual thing but it's Bus Stop, a shop I was forced to spend hours in as a child and, if you knew my mum, you'll know that the motif featuring a fingerless be-gloved hand with super long, blood red long nails complete with a cigarette in a holder was Mum all over. It's almost as if Lee Bender knew her.

Right, I've got a date in the Black Country Arms this evening and there's a pint of India Pale Ale with my name on it, must dash!

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday and to Judith, The Style Crone, for Hat Attack #63