If we could live in the past, we would – simply for the love of fashion, music, and culture! Unfortunately, yet fortunately, we’re too progressive not to move forward. So instead, we adorn our bodies with a little piece of history…
Today, we’re leaving it up to Yoanna “Pepper” Okwesa, Fashion Editor of FAB Magazine, Stylist, and proud owner of Nigeria’s first vintage store ‘Retrospective Boutique’ in Lagos, to share her journey, favorite vintage finds, and a few vintage shopping tips.
Wherever we travel, my sisters and I always find ourselves in random markets picking up old curiosities. We have been lovers of vintage and retro fashion for a long time now. My late Uncle John was a vintage connoisseur so we appreciated vintage and learned the art of collecting from a very young age. My mother doesn't consider herself a vintage expert but I have learned a lot from her gifted eye for fine vintage, good bargains and unique pieces. We always used to joke around and say we have enough goods to open a shop ourselves! Coming to Nigeria on holidays, we found that there was no "real vintage shopping experience". We decided to introduce the treats and treasures we collected over the years throug the monthly shopping market Le Petit Marche. To our pleasant surprise, we found that people were open to learn more about vintage finds. Our clients really loved what we had and were sad to hear that we didn't have a shop in Lagos that they could regularly visit and get their vintage fix. So as my mother would say in pidgin , "like play, like play, butterfly dey enter bush". Now we have Retrospective!
TIPS ON SHOPPING VINTAGE
Have an open heart and an open mind.
Take your time.
Try before you buy it.
In some cases, wash before you wear it and take good care.
VINTAGE VS NEW
Buying vintage, as opposed to new pieces, is an individual choice. I guess I'm partial to vintage because ever since I started digging out my mum's jewelery and beads from her boxes and chests, and removing her burberry trenches from old laundry bags, vintage/retro has taught me priceless lessons on quality which I can't go back on. Vintage comes from a time where craftsmanship and detail were taken very seriously. It was slow fashion and quality made to last. I like the fact that my vintage clothes and accessories are also one of a kind collectibles. It tells special stories of culture and history. I am able to play dress up when I want and carve my own individual style.
FAVORITE VINTAGE STORES IN THE UK
I practically live in markets and fairs but in London, my favorite stores are Beyond Retro because of their great and wide selection of retro and vintage for men and women all under one roof at decent prices. I love their displays too because they are creative and theatrical. They say Circa Vintage is the best kept secret of designers, celebrities and stylists, but I guess not anymore! I adore Cornucopia because of their lovely collection of cocktail dresses and One of a Kind for their amazing collection of designer vintage in mint condition. Rokit typifies East London retro chic and I always pick up a hot 80's dress there. Traid is a nice second hand, charity store. You'll be surprised at the type of vintage you'll discover. Frock It is a large antique and vintage fair of exquisite fashion and lifestyle products and I'm allowed to haggle. In Birmingham, Cow is a warehouse of cool kids retro clothing and has really nice remade vintage pieces.
FAVORITE VINTAGE WEBSITES
RETROSPECTIVE VINTAGE STORE
2 Aderebigbe Street, Ikate, Surulere
(off Alhaji Masha Street, near Oscogo bus stop)
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE VINTAGE FINDS?