• Olivia Hansen

Instagram’s growing vintage boutiques are booming thanks to lockdown

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

I spoke to four vintage accounts to find out more about the faces behind Instagram's growing community.

There is something so rewarding about finding the perfect piece of clothing in a dusty and dark vintage store. The sort of vintage store that has every nook and cranny filled with trinkets and clothing. A store you will spend the next hour or so in, riffling through every rail to make sure you haven’t missed the perfect oversized blazer, or those pair of worn in Levi’s 501 jeans. Sadly due to lockdown, physical visits into shops have been put on hold - but don’t feel too disheartened, as we turn to Instagram, so do stores, with many vintage shops appearing online readily awaiting customers.

Lockdown has been the perfect time for small vintage retailers to start gaining memento on Instagram, with some building an even bigger following online, and for others, the pandemic have provided the perfect opportunity to grow their business from scratch. Instagram has become the new haven for smaller businesses as there are no fees like Depop, Ebay or Etsy. Shopping for your favourite style of pre-loved garments has never been easier, you can now have your morning coffee and scroll through a variety of accounts from all over the world for that perfect item you've been wishing for.

Shopping on Instagram means that you will never know who or what you will stumble across and the exciting items you will find. Last week I started to see the online vintage community open up around me, and upon finding one store, it became a lot easier to find others (thanks to the algorithm). With more time to spend on our phones, and physical shopping put on hold, shifting through an array of virtual vintage rails is becoming the next best thing. Forbes commented that shopping second-hand is on the rise, last month, "ThredUp released its annual Resale Report for 2019, and unsurprisingly it showed that the resale market is booming. According to the data, it’s been growing 21 times faster than the average retail market over the last three years; as of 2018, resale is a $24 billion market.” As we become more aware of the correlation between fast-fashion and it’s negative impact on the environment, shopping second-hand goods has never been more desirable.

Why shop trends from the high-street when you can purchase the original item in a vintage store, for example, you love The Vampire’s Wife dresses? Good news, there are plenty of beautifully curated Instagram vintage accounts that sell the unique Laura Ashley dresses, which The Vampire’s Wife were clearly inspired by. The amazing thing about this online community is, no matter your style, or whether you are searching for designer brands or not, there is something out there for everyone.

After searching through the infinite pool of vintage stores on Instagram, I wanted to learn more about the people that run my favourite vintage accounts and why they decided to start them.

Remotely Told:

Face behind the brand: Derya

When and why did you start up your vintage store?

I've been working in fashion for many years now and have always been in awe of beautiful clothes that can make you feel confident and empowered. Since I was a teenager I've always loved to dig around and find some timeless gems from vintage stores or markets around the world. Especially pieces that I know I will wear for years to come. It just seemed like a natural progression to start my own vintage brand a few months ago as I have always enjoyed spending time sourcing pieces that can become wardrobe staples. And now I can finally share my finds with the world, its such a satisfying feeling! 

How would you describe the style of the clothes you sell? 

I would say that Remotely Told is mainly a reflection of my own personal style. I source clothes and accessories that I myself would wear on a day-to-day basis. My style and inspirations come from a mixture of a Parisian Jane Birkin effortless throw-on-and-go vibe with a more minimalist monochrome 90s Scandi look. 

Prior to working in fashion, I studied History of Art at university and went on to working in art galleries. I'm constantly inspired by art, architecture and interior design and it even influences me on the types of things. that I source for my brand. From the colour palette to the specific cuts and shapes. I would say that my background in the arts has given me a curatorial influence and edit of finding versatile quality pieces. 

What is your favourite item you have sold?

This amazing vintage Christian Dior dress from the 1960s. The fit is amazing and it is a beautiful perfectly cut vintage piece that has aged so well. It was a great find! 

Any other important info you would like to share - 

I found that over the years there was a lack of vintage brands that really curated an edit of quality and timeless pieces that you can wear for everyday. Therefore, it was my aim for my brand to reflect almost a story of my favourite images and inspirations and to show my followers my moodboard so that when I list pieces for sale, it all comes together and makes sense. 

I've always loved that feeling of wearing something that I know (hardly) anyone will have. I was always inspired by my mothers wardrobe and would always steal some of her clothes that she used to wear in the 80s or 90s. Still to this day some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe are some of my mums vintage gems. Putting on such timeless pieces makes you feel special and to know that many one day you can pass it on too. You don't get this feeling with fast fashion - the novelty wears off and you get bored easily! 

Sooki Sooki Vintage

Face behind the brand: Lapoze

When and why did you start up your vintage store?

I started Sooki Sooki Vintage in 2017. At the time I was looking for extra income as I was about to start my Master’s. As any Uni student will tell you, Higher education ain’t cheap, ha! I really enjoyed curating vintage and used clothing. I relished in the process of hunting for one off vintage items. One woman’s trash really is another woman’s treasure. The reviews I would get from customers, telling me how much they loved their vintage purchases was truly fulfilling.

How would you describe your style of the clothes you sell?

I would describe the style of the clothes that I sell as, 70s meshed with the trashy 2000s. Even if an item I am selling may not be from the 70s, the silhouette and influence of that era will definitely be prevalent.

What is your favourite item you have sold?

My favourite item that I have sold has to be a 70s Genuine Leather Brown Coat from Tannery Road. I miss it everyday.

Any other important info you would like to share - 

Sooki Sooki Vintage is where I found my stylistic voice. It helped me discover who I am, and what I stand for. Fashion is a powerful thing. In a world where people judge you on your outer appearance, we are able to control our projection of ourselves. Fashion rocks!

Nova Vintage:

Face behind the brand: Sisters Nic & Liv

When and why did you start up your vintage store?

Nova Vintage is a vintage clothing brand launched in 2019 by London-based sister-duo. We’re both passionate thrifters, after years of searching flea markets, car boots and charity shops for vintage treasures. We put our joy for thrifting into our own curated store so that we share the same excitement of finding unique vintage clothing with others. We both carefully curate, handpick, style and photograph second-hand and vintage clothing to sell on Depop. Before officially branding as Nova Vintage, we had both been selling on Depop for three years: Liv sold thrifted and second-hand clothing and Nic was a commission-based artist selling prints and tattoo designs of her hand-drawn illustrations.

How would you describe the style of clothes you sell?

At Nova Vintage, we love curating limited themed collections out of the pieces that we handpick. Instead of following fleeting trends we wanted to invest our time into curating collections for those who want to shop more sustainably. We love so many different aesthetics, so our collections have covered so many different styles.

In the colder months we curated pieces with autumnal palettes, cosy textures and kitsch woodland embroidery in our: Pumpkin Patch Collection, Maple Collection and Chestnut Collection. In warmer months, we gravitated to sunny landscapes with bright colours, funky and floral prints in our: Picnic Collection, Tutti Frutti Collection and Secret Garden Collection.

Nova Vintage is quintessentially colourful: we often curate rainbow rails of timeless vintage and simply can’t resist sourcing bold pieces.

With our collections, we wanted to be the storytellers of the rich history that embellishes every

vintage piece. So, every single collection is accompanied with elaborate edits shared on our

Instagram, to illuminate the beauty and styling potential of our pieces.

What is your favourite item you have sold?

We have found so many vintage pieces that we regret selling, simply because we’ve been tempted to keep them for our own personal wardrobes. But our favourite sold item has to be a Tommy Hilfiger rainbow colour block corduroy shirt. It was such a bold, loveable piece but we were happy that it went to an amazing home.

Any other important info you would like to share -

We package all orders in sustainably sourced, fully recyclable and reusable, carbon-neutral jiffy bags made from sugarcane, so our customers can be rest assured that they won’t be disposing of any single-use plastic.

A Virtual Vintage Marketplace

Who: Georgie & Emily

How did the two of you meet, when and why did you start up your vintage market?

We are both vintage traders - Georgie owns @peonyvintage and Emily is @themedleybazaar - and were both featured in an Elle UK article about online vintage shops. We then started following each other on Instagram. Having similar tastes meant we were fawning over each other’s pieces and kept sharing vintage garments we loved with each other and developed a friendship - it felt like we’d always known each other.

We founded A Virtual Vintage Market as a response to the challenging time facing vintage traders and small businesses due to the global pandemic - our vision was a virtual marketplace that promoted the selling of vintage clothing and supported our fellow vintage traders. We wanted to bring together vintage sellers and buyers in one place at one time for a unique virtual shopping experience, all from the safety of our homes.

Tell me a bit more about what A Virtual Vintage Market is, and how many vintage retailers you trade with?

A Virtual Vintage Market is a vintage fashion platform, hosting a monthly virtual market on Instagram. Each market has 37 traders (including ourselves) selling vintage clothing, jewellery & accessories. We approach each of our Markets as a unique & individual event, with a new list of traders each time. We try to ensure there is a diverse array of brands and products so that there is something for everyone, and not too much competition between traders too. Our Market isn’t an e-commerce platform nor a physical market but we want to marry aspects of both to create a virtual shopping experience with all the excitement of a real market but with the convenience of online shopping. 

As well as our Market, we also run A Virtual Vintage Show & Tell which happens every Tuesday on Instagram. We go live with guests and they talk us through their favourite vintage pieces, telling us the sentimental stories behind them and how they style them. It’s really great seeing how vintage can be styled with contemporary pieces and integrated into a modern wardrobe. It makes vintage feel much more accessible.

We have also just launched our Journal which is a blog celebrating fashion history, with fashion historians and vintage sellers welcome to contribute articles about topics that interest them. 

How would you describe the style of the clothing you sell?

Emily - I’m obsessed with colour, print & ultra-feminine sweeping maxi dresses so I stock lots of pieces from the 1960s & 70s, with a dash of 80s. I do have a soft spot for premium labels and stock anything from Ossie Clark to Droopy & Browns. 

Georgie - I adore bright and bold prints as much as classic pieces and timeless silhouettes. Much of my sourcing is influenced by designer pieces which of course have been inspired by the vintage originals. I also am influenced by Scandinavian fashion and the whimsical colour palette it often incorporates. I adore a statement collar, pockets in a dress, layering pieces and styling womenswear which is from the 1950s-1980s. 

What has been your favourite item that either of you have sold?

Emily - Mine has to be a 1970’s floral printed Mollie Parnis Couture floor length gown with velvet trim - it had the most incredible print that was so reminiscent of Celia Birtwell’s designs, and the trim detailing gave it a very contemporary Gucci feel. I wish I had kept it. I regret selling it every day!

Georgie - That’s a hard one! I sold an incredible 1960s minidress with Pucci style print and huge collar the week I opened my shop doors in Margate. I have never forgotten it and would love to know where it is now. I also sold a stunning 1940s peach gabardine dress with pin tuck pleating I often dream about! 

Any other important info you would like to share -

We would encourage traders to give selling in virtual markets & fairs on Instagram a go as they’re a fantastic way to connect with customers - if you think how vast and widely used Instagram is, you are limitless in how many connections you can make. 

Our platform has a global customer base with vintage collectors tuning in from Los Angeles and Hong Kong! 

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