Today I have an interesting interview with a 22 years old graduate from reading university, she talks about her latest project, her online vintage shop – Vintage amours and also moving to Paris.
Hope you enjoy it.
Hi Melissa, Nice to have you on YHP, How are you doing?
No thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Can you give the readers some background information about yourself?
Yea sure, I'm 22 and I just graduated last year from Reading University where I studied French and Linguistics after which I did a few fashion interns, worked for a bit in London and then moved to Paris where I’m currently working as an International Assistant fashion buyer.
So let’s dive right into it, Vintage Amours is going live at the beginning of August, Tell us about the business, what you do?
Vintage Amours is a website selling vintage clothing but not in the ‘stereotypical’ way. Our motto is ‘Live for the moment, dress from yesterday’. We don’t feel that to wear vintage clothes you have to look like you’re walking out of a Calmity Jane movie...but instead you can take pieces you like and adapt them making them your own and put a modern twist on them.
Why did you decide to start it or go into fashion, what was the inspiration or story behind it?
I’ve always loved fashion – I remember having the fashion wheel when I was about 7 (laughing), I also had a sewing machine. But to be honest i’m really bad at drawing and I can’t design so I thought I’d stick with buying. I love the fact that fashion is what you make it...I think the people who are truely fashionable create their own styles rather than copying catwalk trends etc. Cliché I know but look at Lady Gaga! You’ve got the Beyonces trying to copy her now!
How did you first pursue your interest in fashion?
I did my 1st fashion intern in Paris when I was on my Erasmus year at university...the easiest way to get into fashion is to have connections. Fashion is an industry based on networking. The more people you know, the further you’ll go. If you don’t have those connections I say apply away and offer your services for free.
What has been your most difficult process in starting the business?
The most difficult thing is to keep motivated and to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. When I did the photoshoot for the S/S10 lookbook I had to stay up until 4 in the morning to get everything ready. The shoot was at 8! Times like that you have to choose between sleep and success.
Another difficult aspect is getting together a good team. I’ve been lucky because everyone i’m working with is dedicated and passionate about the outcome – especially my site designer Jodie and my marketing co-ordinator Nic. Real stars!
Who are your vintage style icons?
I’ve got loads, Miss Monroe of course, Miss Hepburn, Sophie Loren, Diahann Carroll, Jackie Kennedy, Tina Turner, so many I can’t possibly name them all!
Who are your style icons, and why? Does this influence the pieces that you present in your online shop?
I like things of the extreme – so florals of all kinds, anything that sparkles. But also simple classic items that can be styled a number of times...so I guess there’s a bit of Hepburn influence in the shop.
What is your favourite item of clothing?
You can never go wrong with a dress. Anything else you need to spend time matching but a dress, put a cardy with it and you’re sorted.
How important is fashion to you?
Fashion is extremely important to me. When I go to a meeting your sense of style can quickly tell the other person a lot about you. But it’s important to concentrate on areas you think no one else will too. Clothes aren’t the only important thing! Always have groomed nails – you’d be surprised how many people look at them.
Within vintage clothing, are there any specific periods of time that you feel have extraordinarily notable selections of clothes or styles?
Christian Dior in the 50’s was Christian Dior at his best. Elegant, feminine and modest!
What makes you prefer to work with vintage fashion, and do you still enjoy shopping for ‘regular’, modern clothes?
Yep, you’ll see that I’ve styled everything in a modern way on Vintage Amours. Whilst we believe that you can wear vintage clothes it’s important to remember that clothes evolve throughout the years according to society and the activities we take part in.
Wearing a full length ivory boned corset dress everyday to work isn’t something our generation is likely to do as it is rather restrictive. So my selection is mainly for those who want the odd vintage piece and isn’t too comfortable with going outrageously vintage head to toe – But of course anyone can shop with us (smiles)!
How would you advise someone on a budget, such as a student, to customise their own clothes at a low cost?
Rummage through car boot sales – swap clothes with friends, keep old clothes and re-accessorise them. Frayed jeans could translate into new shorts, an old waist band could really be a new headband.
I’d say just think out of the box. We're putting on a charity event soon called 'The Vintage Amours City Garden Party' - I'll keep you updated with the details. If you come down you'll find some real bargains and £1 of your buy will go to Age UK.
There will also be other vintage companies there too selling clothes, trinkets and accessories. So check out the site next week for more information Will be fun!
Explain the most memorable point of your career in fashion to date?
Going to Fashion week parties with a close friend Harriet and getting the goodie bags. Always memorable (laughing). Um but I guess a memorable time would be getting the phonecall and finding out I was going to move to Paris!
Have you got any advice to offer a budding entrepreneur in terms of how to break into the industry?
Just do it – The time you take thinking about it, it could’ve been done. Also always ask for advice! I act on impulse and gut feeling - not too sure if it's always the best thing to do.
What have been the key lessons that you’ve learnt so far in starting up a business?
Nothing ever goes to plan – so plan for it!
Thanks for your time Melissa.
No thanks for having me and remember guys 'Live for the moment, dress from yesterday'