“It was my first time heading to Europe and the UK in search of vintage, which presented some challenges before I even got on the plane!”
Jason Cormick has always had an appreciation of great design and a knack of distinguishing between what is a strong design and what isn’t. About two years ago he fell in love with the silhouettes of the 50’s & 60’s while sharing a stall in a local Melbourne market and the seed was sewn for his own vintage business. Jason shares the following story with us from his recent buying trip in Europe.
Words and images: Jason Cormick, Bleecker Street
It was my first time heading to Europe and the UK in search of vintage and it presented some challenges before I even got on the plane! But the experience overall was an enjoyable one.
Research was crucial so Google became my new best friend and pretty quickly I worked out that second hand shop visits were out as it would consume too much valuable time. Auction houses were also off the list because there weren’t any running during my stay!
I was getting a little anxious as Google was letting me down and there wasn’t much time left. But then – a light at the end of the tunnel. I came across a specialist Italian vintage wholesale designer who did business by appointment only. My email explaining my Australian based business and my expression of interest went off into cyberspace, then I crossed my fingers waiting for an invitation into their ‘secret society of vintage’. A few days later, which honestly felt like weeks, their email arrived confirming my appointment! This was a really exciting moment which re-energised my upcoming trip.
Fast forward a few weeks and there I was walking the streets of Italy on my way to the mystery appointment to immerse myself in all things vintage and designer vintage. Buzzing the doorbell I imagined the person on the other side as someone with taste and style, probably dressed in something like Iris Apfel and Tavi Gevinson. I discovered I was pretty close – greeted by Nabila, a young, effortlessly yet stylishly dressed Italian woman (imagine an Italian version of Kate Moss).
I was led upstairs to a modest sized warehouse filled with vintage goodness, and with a wave of her hand she indicated I could begin perusing the vintage stock while she busied herself at her computer.
A smaller section of the room was reserved for high end designer vintage which was exactly what I was after. I saw Versace, Gucci and Moschino. There was a lot to choose from, but I knew I had to be selective. One piece that really stood out was a Gucci coat which I asked Nabila to model for me, because vintage pieces can look different on a person than on a hanger. With her skinny jeans and blouse it looked amazing, so it had to come back with me along with some other select gems.
A few days later I was in Paris, wandering through the alleys of an area well known for its antiques. There were some lovely vintage selections but because it was a little too well known, the prices were through the roof! Not to be deterred, I managed to find some cute brooches and amazing Babar screen-prints, which came from a book in the 1940’s. I also discovered vintage Chanel dresses that were selling for more than $1000. A lot of money? Yes, but as early Chanel pieces were actually stitched by hand the cost was justified.
Learning about overseas vintage based business trends and how high end designer vintage is priced was invaluable, and I have returned with some gorgeous vintage treasures!
You will find Jason’s designer vintage pieces at the Love Vintage & Retro Fair, Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on May 16 – 18. The Babar prints can be purchased online at www.bleeckerstreet.com.au