I’ve always been a fan of vintage shopping, favouring the idea that I might find a little gem that no-one else has. But like everything in life I feel that to be a true vintage shopper you need be dedicated to it. It takes time and effort, research and most importantly passion. You need to know your Notting Hill boutique from your Brick Lane stall, you need to learn which of those car boots and flea markets are the ones worth getting up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning for and you need to be willing to rake through rails and rails of rif raf on the off chance that you might just find that one hidden wonder.
A few years ago when I first moved to London, this was me. Compared to Scotland, which I had been scouring for years, London was like an untapped shopping emporium to me and every available moment I had I would be raking through market stalls and basement stores.
But while my love for vintage clothing remains, my dedication to the art has waned. I’ve got older and busier and spare time is a friend that sadly I’ve drifted apart from. But as part of my ‘buy less, buy well’ resolution this year I’m determined to resurrect my love of vintage and start to once again collect some truly special pieces that one day I can hopefully pass on to my kids.
That love/hate relationship I have with a little thing called the internet has proven advantageous once again, and as the trend for online shopping grows ever bigger there are now more and more shopping sites dedicated to vintage and pre-loved clothing.
One such site and my latest discovery in the online vintage world is Nines Vintage. A wonderfully curated site which takes all of the hassle out of vintage shopping. Claire Walsh, the clever soul behind it all does all the hard work for us, scouring markets and shops around the globe to handpick the best designer vintage pieces and offer them to us for very reasonable prices. No more early mornings spent raking through rails of endless stained shirts and ripped dresses, for Nines Vintage only sells items which are in tip top condition, have true vintage value and are from great quality fashion houses.
As the first in a new interview series on the blog, I caught up with Claire, the sites founder, to find out more…
1. Versace Jeans Couture Rare jeans and jacket £398, 2. Versace Versus The One Jacket £92, 3. Pierre Cardin tortoiseshell glasses £47, 4. Jean Paul Gaultier sunglasses £215, 5. Moschino Jeans tartan dress £74, 6. Gianni Versace mini backpack £172, 7. Nicole Fahri knee high boots £115, 8. Lanvin Paris sweater £350
Claire Walsh, Founder of new online vintage boutique Nines Vintage…
For those who aren’t yet aware of Nines Vintage, tell us a bit more about the store and concept?
Nines Vintage is a vintage designer clothing website offering unique and unusual pieces and high-end brands, all in top condition. It’s important to me that each item is in excellent condition and every single item is handpicked and vetted personally.
What inspired you to set up the site? Have you always been interested in vintage clothing?
Style has always been very important to me. I have always tried to steer away from the norm and one of the first ways that I began to find my individual style was with vintage clothing. I think it’s very important to be aware of trends but in my opinion, if you want to be truly fashionable, you need to mix things up, experiment and have knowledge of fashion history. Fashion history is the foundation of style.
You offer a great variety of designer vintage items on the site, where do you source your products and how do you select the pieces to sell?
The clothes stocked on Nines Vintage are sourced from all over the world, from so many different places. I love scouring flea markets, auctions, charity shops and such like to find gems, which takes a lot of time and patience, not to mention a keen eye. There is also a function on the site to sell your clothes through us; this is a great way for you to make sure that your gems find a good home.
Are there any designers you especially look out for when sourcing items?
I focus on French and Italian couture brands like Lanvin, Chanel, Moschino, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Hermes and Versace… the list goes on.
Do you have a favourite place or store to shop vintage from?
Growing up, Beyond Retro was always a staple for me. They have great price points (which is unusual nowadays) and such an incredible amount of stuff – I would spend hours in there with my friends trying pieces on. I love the fancy dress element of vintage, mixing it up and just having fun with it.
Nowadays the term ‘vintage’ tends to get overused. How would you define a true vintage item?
If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have started an hour long angry rant about my disgust for the misuse of the word vintage… It still annoys me when I see someone wearing a cheap high-street t-shirt with fake holes in and ‘distressed’ areas or a little paint splatter with the word ‘vintage’ across the chest. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m more interested in focusing on inspiring fashion and REAL vintage. In my opinion, vintage is nostalgia. It is iconic style reminiscent of an era or some point in history.
There are now a lot of sites offering pre loved and designer vintage fashions, what makes Nines Vintage different?
There are other sites that sell vintage clothes but what makes Nines Vintage different is our unparalleled quality of product and unique service. When you shop with us, you are not just buying any old second hand item. Each item is handpicked by me and every single item represents Nines – I wouldn’t sell anything that I wouldn’t wear myself.
When you buy from Nines Vintage, each item is delicately wrapped, boxed and packaged to the highest standard. When I first started the business, one of the most important things to me was to create a service which parallels the experience of buying the designer item new and that’s what I’ve served to do. I would like to think that Nines Vintage is totally original in that we aim higher, to create a truly special vintage shopping experience.
You say on the site that if there is a particular item your customers are looking for that isn’t available you can find it for them. How does this service work?
We’ve all been in that situation where there’s one special item that you have yearned for for so long. You’ve seen it in a magazine or on the internet somewhere and you wait in the hope that one day you will come across it and maybe one day, you will! But if you’re impatient like me and you need a solution ASAP then all you have to do is email us a description of this item, with a picture or item number, and we will add it to our database. As we are constantly searching for unique designer pieces, if this special item shows up, we can get straight in contact with you. Even if you’re not completely specific about what you want, just get in touch and we will see how we can help.
Finally tell us about your own personal style? Do you wear vintage clothing yourself?
I’m a big believer in mixing things up. I don’t like to pigeon hole myself and refuse to resign myself to any one particular style. I wear vintage, new, designer and high-street and usually all at once. My favourite items of clothing right now are my Canada Goose tremblant hoodie, which is 96% windproof (lol), my 80’s Escada jacket with an icy penguin covered landscape pattern, 90’s Versace jeans and my black Airmax 90s.
If like me you love vintage clothing but struggle to find the time to do the scouring, check out Nines Vintage
for Lanvin, Versace, Lacroix and much more.
Big thank you to Claire for taking the time to be my first interviewee for the site!