Vintage wear just as loved second time around
ANYONE with an interest in vintage clothing would do well to buy now while the time is right, says Aeon store owner Amy Oakes.
The Cuba St retailer says at the moment vintage is pre-1970s, when most garments were handmade in New Zealand and better quality than the cheap imported clothing of more recent decades.
“It’s not as meticulous and it’s not as careful. It’s made quickly and cheaply and just doesn’t last as well,” says Amy.
“Women back [before the 1970s] were very classy, and they often made their own clothes, so they fitted properly.”
With the abundance of vintage and second-hand clothing stores in Wellington, you would think that competition is rife, but Amy (26) disagrees.
A lover of vintage, who has always had a “large collection of stuff”, the former teacher opened Aeon in January last year, and says although it is right next to another vintage store, Particles of Time, the two don’t compete because shoppers want distinctive clothes. No two vintage items are the same.
Many vintage stores make money from commission, where people bring in their old clothes and the store then gives them a percentage of the profit.
Amy purchases her stock from op shops, online auction site Trade Me, and anywhere else she may find interesting items at a low price, so customers get a unique item more cheaply.
A 1950s ball gown, made from taffeta ruched across the bust with a long skirt, she describes as “absolutely beautiful”, and bought for a “ridiculously cheap” $5 from an Oamaru op shop, was sold for a low price, but also made a great profit.
“I know some places down the road would have sold it for $500 or $600, but I sold it for $100 … this girl who bought it got an absolute bargain.”
Amy also does repairs and alterations, as well as sewing a few pieces here and there to sell in the store, though she says sewing for her own pleasure has pretty much gone out the window.
“It’s like I’m doing three people’s jobs at once,” she says. “I’m a vintage shop assistant, I’m doing all the bookwork and accounting as well, and I’m sewing, so you could just about employ somebody full time to do any of those jobs.”