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A CONVERSATION WITH A FASHIONISTA

 

By Ronke Adeyemi

 

Wednesday, July 01, 2009.

 

 "Vintage, schmintage - it's not the concept that bothers, it"s the snooty-faced justifications behind its recent election to the top of the fashion pyramid. Ever since people (aka Kate Moss) popularized vintage clothes about a decade ago her followers have come up with some rum old justifications for this trend."

Hadley Freeman, The Meaning of Sunglasses.

I have always been perplexed by the term 'vintage' and the way it has been placed onto every piece of clothing that ranges from 30 years old to just a few years. I appreciate that there are some amazing collectors items out there that are irreplaceable and to quote Rachel Zoe - to die for. However I fail to see how a shop can charge £100 for an old t-shirt that would have going for a mere 50p before vintage became hip.

 

Well thank god for Shopping for Vintage: The Definitive Guide to Vintage Fashion which is written by journalist, Funmi Odulate. This gorgeous book gives the down low on vintage and tells you how to separate vintage clothing from that which is antique, retro or simply secondhand. With contributions from the likes of Hilary Alexander to Miuccia Prada, this book also contains hints and tips on what to look for and how to haggle when you find a great vintage piece. I caught up with Funmi to find out how life was treating her on and off the vintage track.

What was the idea behind Shopping For Vintage?


My initial inspiration behind this book was purely selfish. I wanted a book that would tell me where to find vintage shops and markets worldwide. I couldn't’t find one so I thought I would create one and that’s basically how it began.

There has been a lot of ambiguity about what 'vintage' actually is. Can you tell me how you define it?


Vintage is really anything older than a quarter of a century.

How much research went into compiling the list of shops together?


More research than you would believe! It took years. This included travelling around many cities to actually check them out.

 


How did you go about getting your book deal? Did you pitch it to Quadrille Publishing?


I sent my idea to an agent, they rang me up the next day and they clinched the deal with Quadrille.

We all know that vintage is the new Black but people like yourself have been on the ball for years. Do you think that there are a lot of fake vintage lovers out there?


Gosh I don’t know if I can be pompous enough to label someone a ‘fake vintage lover’. Yes I’ve loved vintage way before I knew what ‘vintage’ was. Back then it was just secondhand clothes. But hey. You like what you like. If someone likes something and it happens to be vintage then all power to them.

You have worked for all the top end glossy magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar - how did you start out as a journalist?


I basically started out by doing work experience at Elle Magazine and worked my way through that route. That is just about the only way to do it.

Tell me whose style you admire?
It varies – lots of people from Julia Restoin-Roitfeld to Dot Cotton to Ebony Bones to Michelle Obama to Chrissie Hynde to Kelis to Kanye West to Nigella Lawson. All for very different reasons. To be honest most of the people’s styles I admire are not even famous.

What is the fashion item that you would just die for?
Die is such a strong word hahaha! However, I am loving
this jacket from Balmain right now. I also love Marni’s new collection for autumn winter , Lanvin and Chanel are super gorgeous and vintage Yves Saint Laurent and vintage Bulgari jewellery do it for me every time. I’d also like a vintage Rolex. Okay this list could get VERY long.

Describe your own personal style.
I always find this quite a tough question. It’s a real mix; the best way to describe it would be in terms of designer’s styles. For day time it is very Marni meets Bottega meets vintage and for evening its Yves Saint Laurent meets Lanvin.

Describe a day in the life of Funmi Odulate.
At the moment I am the Editor of the
Browns website so everyday is different. A mix of meetings, working on editorial, choosing pictures from a mammoth fashion shoot my stylists have shot etc etc. It really does vary.

What are you working on at the moment?
As well as Browns I write fashion, arts and beauty features for other publications and am currently working on a literary novel.

Shopping for Vintage is available to buy from
Amazon.

 

Ronke Adeyemi is a fashion writer with a background in journalism, marketing and PR.  She blogs at The Musings of Ondo Lady.

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