I have had a love of all things vintage and antique since I was a very small girl. I think it started with the dressing up box I had before the age of 6. Back in the 70s when you bought a new duvet they came in a huge box about the size of a wheelie bin. My mum filled her empty duvet box full of her unwanted sparkly, glamorous dresses and shoes, many from the 50s & 60s, and let me play until my heart’s content. Our next door neighbour had the tiniest feet and her shoes were much easier to keep on so, whenever she chose to throw them out, they would end up in the dressing up box too. I still love anything sparkly and glamorous and I’m always the most overdressed in the room (my mum has this problem too!).
As I grew older my parents, who are lovers of all things old, would take me to historic houses, antique markets, record fairs and, my dad’s favourite, steam rallies. This all rubbed off on me and as a child I began collecting antique and vintage toys. I loved the Victorian porcelain dolls and the 1950s plastic dolls and still have most of them. I also had a bit of an obsession with toy china tea sets and would save up my pocket money to try and buy the oldest and prettiest one I could find.
This stayed with me through my teens (although boys were a bit of a distraction) and, with the influence of my parents’ teenage stories, I rekindled my fascination with all things 50s & 60s. I loved nothing better than putting on my dad’s jukebox records (which I still have today) and dancing around my room as if I was in Rock Around The Clock. My wardrobe had the odd piece in it inspired by the era too but I was much more into mini skirts than I was a full circle one!
I studied fashion design technology at uni and my most favourite lectures were those based around history of fashion or history of art. I was always the one enthusiastically taking notes right up at the front. It probably was the only time I ever really excelled over my classmates and I still have the dissertation I wrote about the evolution of women in trousers. Even my final collection was based on 1940s gangsters with both men’s and women’s tailored zoot suits!
During my adult life my love of vintage has gone in ebs and flows. I’ve had partners who have shared my interest and others that haven’t. One particular boyfriend was obsessed with all things mod and we loved nothing better than heading down to Brighton for a spot of shopping and ice cream! But my passion has grown and grown over the last few years to the point where I wear 1920s & 40s vintage or vintage inspired almost everyday, my Georgian house is cluttered with flea market and antique shop furniture and paraphernalia, I listen mostly to pre-1970s music and I devour just about every literary classic I can get my hands on. More recently my passion for making my own clothes has returned with absolute fury. This fortunately allows me to produce authentic era based clothing using original sewing patterns rather than spending a fortune on the real thing!