Home' Scoop : Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Contents 152 scoop SPRING 2010
here is no fancy window display
or slick visual merchandising. The
clothes are lumped indecipherably
on to racks according to colour and
type. The lighting is almost always
a harsh fluorescent, and the sales assistants, though
friendly, would sooner close shop at midday than
provide fitting-room ser vice. This is the very
antithesis of high-end fashion; the op-shop.
And yet, go into any Good Sammy or Salvation
Army store on a Saturday, and you will find an
increasing number of immaculate women trawling
through piles of musty, unwanted goods. But
that’s not even the weird part. These women are
actually enjoying themselves.
Amid the vast wasteland of consumerism –
where the clothes are equal parts soiled, stinky or
just plain unattractive – these women are having
the time of their lives. They are hunting for vintag e
clothing; and it is indeed a hunt.
Speak to any avid op-shopper and they will
tell you of entire days spent searching for a single
purchase. It gets competitive too. Should two
fashionistas find themselves in the same store,
you can watch them practically sprint between
racks marked ‘Dresses’, ‘Leather’ or ‘Weird
and Wonderful’ lest they be beaten to a prized
find. What exactly this constitutes is a bit of an
unknown, but most likely a rip-off of whatever
Kate Moss was last photographed wearing.
It was Moss who started the vintage trend, or
at least who brought it to the mainstream sartorial
consciousness, she and the cowgirl-booted
Sienna Miller – circa 2004 – both up to their
necks in ancient, dusty garb. Tog ether, they
pioneered a global obsession with jangly peasant
skirts, floaty 70s smocks and the sort of carefree
‘who has time to brush their hair?’ look that makes
airline hostesses shudder.
Of course, it was around this time that the
Olsen twins also emerged on the cover of weekly
magazines like bedrag gled butterflies, scarcely
recognisable from their bubblegum-popping
tween years. Mary Kate, in particular, became a
beacon of hobo-chic. Her style – a haphazard
blend of old baggy jumpers, scrappy nail polish
and Starbucks cups – walked a fine line between
homelessness and haute couture.
Today, the term ‘vintag e’ is synonymous with
‘cool.’ The obsession with the TV series Mad Men
– due as much to its impeccable 60s styling as the
characters themselves – is just the latest example.
But it’s not only charity shops that are benefiting.
Vintage clothing boutiques have become the first
choice for customers who haven’t the time or
inclination to go op-shopping themselves. Here the
hard work has already been done and you can choose
from a selection of handpicked vintage pieces.
In WA, one of the most established vintage
stores is Off The Wall in Fremantle, which opened
six years ag o. “I think we were the first to really
go into the whole designer-style out of vintage,”
says Renee Moncrieff, a buyer and sales assistant at
Off The Wall. The store’s eclectic stock is sourced
anywhere from international suppliers to local
garag e sales, op-shops and even deceased estates.
“Anywhere where there’s great fashion,” Renee
says. “That’s what we g o for. We want you to be
able to come in here and find something quirky
but dress it in a modern way.”
Being able to reflect high-end fashion at a
fraction of the price is undoubtedly what makes
vintage so appealing. For shops like Off The Wall,
success is about predicting what those trends will
be and acquiring pieces that appropriate the look.
Recycled clothing and the fashionista... it’s an unlikely
love story but, as Jessica Matthews discovers, the
vintage trend isn’t expected to grow old anytime soon
images Adam Borrello
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