I can clearly remember the first piece of vintage clothing I invested in. It was a pair of seriously high and pointy-toed wine-coloured heels from Reminiscene – a vintage boutique that was in Rockey Street, Johannesburg back then.
They were like nothing I had seen or worn before – or ever since, for that matter – and instantly had me feeling like a sassy 50s siren. Sadly I no longer own them since heels are not part of my staple style.
Those shoes were the start of a life long passion for vintage clothing. I’ve subsequently segued into the world of modern vintage – that means, the love of gently worn fashion from vintage boutiques and pop-ups all over the world. Set me down in a new city and the first thing I’ll do is google vintage markets and boutiques and immediately set off to feed my obsession for once loved fashion.
I do know quite a few people who share my vintage problem – most of them the most stylish women I know – but it is also often a shopping habit that needs some explanation. Many don’t understand why I would want to wear something that is not new and has been worn before me, by a complete stranger.
To be honest, those are not thoughts that enter the vintage shopper’s mind. Instead, I relish the delight of sifting through a clothes rail, knowing that sooner or later I’ll come across a dress, a jacket or a pair of pants that are perfectly me and that are nothing like the dozens of identical garments hanging in the high street store down the road.
Mixing it up has always been the signature of a vintage shopper’s style: High street jeans with vintage Tod’s and a designer jacket over a Trenery top is probably my idea of the perfect high-low get up. I’ve seen some of my fellow vintage lovers in similar combinations – where the season’s latest looks sit comfortably alongside vintage finds to create perfect individual style.
My love of vintage meant it was a no-brainer when a friend, Leigh Ord, suggested we start a charity event, selling once loved clothing to raise money for education.
Leigh always jokes that the first sale was supposed to happen in her garage, but my gracious partner would never have allowed it to be anything less than 100% stylish.
Enter the forum company and Glynis Hyslop, who lends us her beautiful venue at the Dimension Data campus to create the elegant weekend pop up you see in the images accompanying this column.
In Cape Town, Debbie Smuts and her crew have taken up the vintage baton and this is the sixth year that the Vintage with Love team will be collecting and selling vintage clothing for charity. So far we have raised close to R4-million and donated every cent to programmes that help children with foundation literacy, maths and science, computer literacy and that train teachers.
Of course every moment of sorting through the vintage clothing donations is a delight for a junkie like me. But more than the clothes, the privilege of being able to turn this passion into something that also makes a difference to those who need help, is far most satisfying than anything else.
I am extremely grateful to Wanted publisher Aspasia Karras for giving me permission to use the Wanted platform to spread the word about Vintage with Love. Our little miracle of turning a weekend of vintage shopping into much-needed funds for literacy needs the help of all stylish South African women. Please consider clearing your wardrobe of those items you no longer want and donating them to Vintage with Love. Then come shopping on the 1-3 June 2018 and allow me to take you on a wonderful vintage journey!