The Timelessness of Vintage Fashion
Everyone loves vintage – I mean retro is in, but it’s always in. Will the trend of vintage ever fade?
The 20th century: an age without technology, a simpler time – where music, culture, and fashion were unfathomably valued, and where the company of loved ones and genuine, human interactions were the most important components of life. Vintage fashion has allowed individuals to keep alive the good ol’ times, to dress in chameleonic patterns to express themselves, and most importantly, their appreciation of the past.
Whether it be the flower-power hippie flared pants of the 70s, David Bowie’s gold n’ bold spandex leotards of the 80s or the double denim trend of the 90s – most young people today continue to emulate these happy times, by bringing back iconic styles that just never seem to die away. Vintage fashion reminds people to be daring, to reflect on themselves, the past, and ultimately – to have a bit of fun, be experimental, and to not take life too seriously.
Upon discovering, according to EcoGoodz, that worldwide about 80% of people buy, use, and wear secondhand goods, I decided to delve deeper as to current thoughts on vintage fashion from a business owner’s perspective. Last Saturday I took a trip to Sydney’s highly-acclaimed hustling glebe markets: a whirlwind of overflowing racks of second-hand clothing, and vintage one-offs, and interviewed some stall-holders.
The most fascinating vintage store that immediately drew me in, was Queen Justine Vintage (QJV), owned by Sydney-born Justine Miller. Complete with pastel silk camisoles, high-waisted corduroy jeans, fluorescent spray jackets and sunflower overalls, her store had teenage girls and boys rummaging the racks to get the best items.
Having a strong passion for dress-ups, fabrics and fashion from a very young age, Justine spends her days either photographing models for her website, art directing, styling fashion shoots or sourcing diverse vintage pieces.
Initially starting her QJV journey trading at weekend markets, her business now traces fashion events, Australian music festivals like Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festivals, and now has a dedicated following due to its irreplaceable chic vibe. According to her website, the QJV aesthetic is best described as ‘encompassing a journey from street to old school to classic and back again’, and invigorating old pieces with new life.
(L) So how long ago did you start up your vintage store, when did it become official?
(J) I got serious about it about ten years ago, but I’ve always been involved in fashion – I’ve always been an op-shopper, you know from an early age. I love markets, op-shops, garage sales… and I make stuff as well, so I kind of started by just doing that, and you know stuff I’d worn, that I was sick of wearing, I’d sell at the markets and then eventually I was like oh this could become a business, so yeah, that’s how it started.
(L) What attracts you to vintage clothing, why do you love it so much?
(J) I love the fabrics, the cuts, the designs… the designers back then were so much better than what they are now – I like to make clothing last and I’m very big on recycling as well, and I’m so into fashion, so vintage really ticks a lot of boxes for me.
(L) Do you grow an attachment to items of clothing, and find it hard to part with them? Do you get tempted to keep a lot of things?
(J) No actually I don’t, when I see something I’ll know if it has to be mine, but that’s not very often. I’m pretty boring actually when it comes to dressing myself, I’d rather find good pieces and then find homes for them.
(L) Do you think vintage clothing will always be timeless, and that no matter how much fashion evolves, people will always still resort back to it?
(J) I like to think it will, yeah. I know that there’s a lot of crap that they’re producing these days that just goes into landfill so that stuff won’t go the distance, but as I said, the fabrics and the cuts – I think there’s always gonna be a cycle of things coming into fashion. But I also think that now people are into knowing what suits their body type. So it’s not so much okay I’ve gotta wear this because everyone else is, people are individual with their fashion. I like to think vintage clothing will keep continuing on.
(L) The rise of music festivals has opened a big door for vintage fashion – you’ve visited quite a few in Australia?
(J) I’ve done Splendour, I’m doing Groovin’ The Moo next weekend, Falls, Laneway…
(L) Do you find it attracts new customers? I mean music festivals generally attract such an arty, trendy crowd.. What’s it like?
(J) Yeah, it’s fun! Everyone always goes to the festival and decides they hate what they’ve taken, or maybe they just want to add another piece or something isn’t working. I find that I’m like the festival stylist, guys will come in and go ‘oh I hate my shirt I want a party shirt’ so we do a swap, and yeah I meet new customers that way as well.
(L) Do you find that there’s always one item of clothing people are after?
(J) No it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s the guys section that gets hounded, other times it’s the girls, it depends on the weather – people go for jeans, shorts… I have such a different array of customers as well, so yeah, people are buying for different reasons.
(L) Who’s your ultimate vintage fashion icon?
(J) Oh that’s a big question. I love the 70s – something about the sort of carefree maxis, flowers in your hair kind of thing, so probably any of the icons from that time.
(L) Well best of luck for the Groovin’ The Moo Festival next week, and great talking with you.
Whilst some vintage-lovers like Justine parade their goods around Glebe Markets and music festivals, online platforms have also enabled success for many entrepreneurs.
Take Rachel March, a 26-year-old, stay-at-home mum from Newcastle, who is busy pursuing her vintage-business dream.
Her online store Tuesday Vintage has attracted extreme popularity and is becoming a prosperous online platform, where beloved second-hand clothes and accessories are scouted and re-worked by fashionista Rachel March. Established in 2012, stylist and founder Rachel March exhibits her unfathomable creativity, selling unique vintage pieces from all decades, which have adolescents beaming with excitement.
Tuesday Vintage is quintessential of the ever-growing trend of re-birthing fashion of the past, with its flared paisley pants, long hippy skirts, denim playsuits, shoulder-padded jackets, retro sports tees, patterned cut-offs, ’90s dresses, and aztec halter-necks attracting the eyes of all aspiring fashion queens.
Tuesday Vintage has evolved in the creative realm, with Rachel embarking on various brand collaborations, styling, full directed shoots, lookbooks and design. Rachel’s inner and utter adoration of all things vintage, in conjunction with her relationship with an array of designers, style icons, labels, photographers, bloggers and PR companies, ensures that Tuesday Vintage will provide only eccentric statement items.
The never-dying Levi jeans sold from Tuesday Vintage are super quirky, as Rachel has sewn on patches of various shapes, styles and colours, from the Californian fashion accessory brand Patch Ya Later. Rachel also incorporates a large quantity of one-off leather belts, tanned clog shoes, funky handbags, and intricately-patterned bralettes and matching underwear – allowing her to fulfil everyone’s taste when it comes to vintage fashion.
Rachel’s most exciting collaboration has been recently working with the highly-acclaimed Harley-Davidson, successfully customising a woman’s vintage leather jacket. This gave her complete creative freedom, allowing her to add metal studs, patches and other details to transform the ordinary leather jacket.
With Rachel admitting, “I’ve been collecting Vintage Clothes forever… my love and appreciation for vintage definitely came from my mother”, her Tuesday Vintage Instagram account currently has 30,000 followers. This makes her absolutely chuffed, and she affirms that without her business she would have no creative outlet.
Originally, Rachel studied Graphic Design through TAFE and went on to study Fashion Business and Design at FBI Fashion College in Sydney, with her active efforts to gain internships and retail experience only boosting her love of hoarding vintage clothes. Rachel explains the internal struggle parting from her awesome retro findings, “It is literally SO, so hard. I want to keep everything!”, yet acknowledges she has enthusiastic customers who embrace their purchased item just as she’d hoped.
Rachel March was asked on her website, “If Tuesday Vintage was a woman, who would she be?”
Her response was, “An old soul who walks to the beat of her own drum. She is somebody who is spontaneous and true to herself. She’s full of freedom and she does what she wants – she is crazy, beautiful and wild”.
Tuesday Vintage is the epitome of cool, eclectic, bizarre, extraordinary, and real fashion – it allows individuals to purchase one-off pieces, that no one else in the world can buy and own. Rachel March’s hard work has evidently paid off, and through her own admirable and quirky style, she is undoubtedly an incredible fashion icon of our time.
So, it appears that the trend of vintage will inevitably always be a part of the fashion world, and of peoples’ everyday lives. Whether it’s blasting a Beatle’s record or whipping out a pair of vintage Nike trainers, re-living the past through all things vintage makes makes business-owners and customers, feel warm and content inside. Vintage makes us feel something from the past that’s absent in our rapidly-evolving modern society. So, take a step back. Re-assess your busy world, take a breath, and slow down the pace of life with vintage clothing.
To wear beautiful vintage pieces from QJV, head to Glebe Markets this saturday, or visit Justine Miller’s online store www.queenjustinevintage.com.au and on instagram @queenjustinevintage.
To check out Rachel March’s goodies, head to www.tuesdayvintage.com, and be blown away by her fashion posts @TuesdayVintage on Instagram.