Some reflections from our day with Laura at The Vintage Collection.
As serial inspiration-seekers, constantly on the lookout for experiences that spark our creativity, here at fold there’s nothing we love more than connecting with other artists, designers and small business owners to exchange ideas and discover what makes them tick. During our recent collaboration with The Vintage Collection, we got to immerse ourselves – and our leather bags – in the world of vintage fashion.
The philosophy driving our brand is, as with vintage, characterised by yearnings to strip our wardrobes down to carefully considered, well-made and long-lasting clothing and accessories… rejecting the lower quality, mass-produced clothing that dominates the fashion market today, and that also has a damaging environmental and human impact.
The Vintage Collection meets fold
The Vintage Collection is a Malta-based vintage clothing shop started by artist Laura Besançon, who runs the business online (on Instagram), and offline – in a gorgeous little space below her photography studio in an old house in Tarxien.
We wanted to set up a photoshoot and pair our beloved belt pouches with some vintage outfits. Using ourselves as the models, we found that the fold pouches really complemented the outfits we selected from The Vintage Collection, and vice versa. And by wearing one outfit and then tweaking something slightly – even just the colour of the fold belt – we could almost create a new look entirely. Needless to say, the possibilities were endless… and the time we spent at the Vintage Collection soon turned into something like a movie montage of us throwing shirts, belts, trousers and our fold belt pouches on and off and snapping away with our cameras.
After a day of mixing and matching fold belt pouches onto outfits selected from Laura’s carefully curated vintage collection, not only did we leave the space with some gorgeous images for our lookbook, but we also couldn’t help but think how – in a time where we continue to hear about the huge environmental impact of the fashion industry and the deplorable working conditions that garment factories perpetuate – making better choices as consumers has become increasingly urgent.
So while vintage fashion is distinct from what we do at fold – we actually realised at the heart of our businesses there is an affinity – ditching mass-production, embracing high-quality, tactile, long-lasting pieces, and perhaps most importantly, personally engaging with each piece along the way. That’s our story.
And here, so you’ll know what we mean, is an interview with Laura about her own love affair with vintage.
Nostalgia, romance… and quality
“Vintage has its nostalgic and romantic associations - it can make us wonder who owned the piece before us and what the clothes have seen before.”
When we asked Laura what drew her to vintage clothing and motivated her to set up her own shop in 2019, she tells us that “Many items designed today are based on designs of the 90s and earlier. So why not buy the real thing? Vintage has its nostalgic and romantic associations – it can make us wonder who owned the piece before us and what the clothes have seen before.” On top of that, she says vintage allows you to dress uniquely: “It will be very hard to run into someone wearing the same thing, almost impossible.”
Laura’s statements ring true for us, and in fact one thing we really value about wearing vintage is how each item of clothing evokes a narrative. Knowing that the funky paisley shirt you’re wearing belongs to a bygone era, or the decadent crushed velvet blazer had been abandoned in a dusty wardrobe by a daydreaming artist like yourself. Even though it’s likely you’ll never know the identity of your clothes’ previous owners, a specific piece of clothing, or even its features like the way a cropped sleeve drapes in a sharp diagonal over your arm or an unusually daring colour combination… can somehow connect you to the culture that brought it to life. Most of the clothes we wear today, produced on a garment assembly line along with millions of others in a factory – do not tell a particularly alluring story.
An alternative to fast fashion
“It felt like everyone was just a number, and so were the clothes.”
Laura goes on to explain that apart from the aesthetic appeal of vintage clothing, we should not underestimate the actual material differences between clothes made decades ago, and those produced now. She says that “Many vintage garments were not made in the quantities they are made today, and are of much better quality.”
While the aesthetic appeal of vintage fashion is undoubtable, the fact that it flies in the face of an industry with a terrible environmental and human rights track record, also makes shopping vintage an ethical choice.
Through her personal experience working in retail, Laura says that with time, she “started to realise even more what the downsides of the fashion industry were. The mass production, overconsumption, waste, the underpaid wages, quality issues and more. It felt like everyone was just a number, and so were the clothes.”
“I thought it was time to use my creativity, past experience of the industry itself, to try and initiate a store which provides an alternative to fast-fashion, which I believe has never been so urgent.”
This is a sentiment we’ve been feeling for some time too, and both of us are now trying to think about clothes in a completely different way; by opting for second-hand or quality made items. Not buying fast fashion doesn’t mean you can’t have new clothes, it just means you should try to be more conscious of where your clothes come from, and opt for sustainable materials that last longer than a season.
It can also really reduce the amount of waste created by people throwing away low quality clothes: “Buying vintage also keeps clothing out of landfills and if a vintage item is kept in good condition, it retains its value and can eventually (if you really need to let go of an item) be sold on to the next person, furthering its lifespan.”
Contrary to what most people think, vintage is not always expensive. And even though many clothes were not made in the quantities clothes are produced in today, “Prices are reasonable, and not far off what you would normally pay for.” This last comment by Laura directly addresses the common perception that vintage clothing is necessarily unaffordable – it isn’t, and you’ll actually find quite a range of prices in most good vintage shops.
Our short interview with Laura was enlightening, and really reminded us why we do what we do, and how we will always strive to produce and promote fashion made or sourced in a sustainable way – just like in the old days. In the end, our fashion choices all comes down to telling a story. We can choose what kind of stories we want to tell.
Favourite looks from the day
Suzi: “I adored Laura’s denim on denim look. Most people are afraid of doing this but when done right it looks so good. And also wearing a double fold really complemented the look. I’ve bought quite a few items from TVC and actually found it hard to pick, as I love them all. I fell in love with a velvet black blazer that had such a great fit and I still question why I didn’t take it home.”
Laura: “I loved the photo of Suzi with the Red Palau Pouch belted at the waist against the charcoal and olive green floral blouse. I often wear more solid, block colours but seeing the combination of vintage patterns against a solid block colour pouch makes me want to wear patterned shirts more, especially with my very own Macba Pouch!”
Tina: “Suzi’s look with the Oxford tweed jacket and the double Apolo was original and so stylish. You can never go wrong with a vintage classic tweed print, and spicing the outfit up with two small leather pouches gave the look a modern twist. I love how the sottobosco pouches match with everything, it’s not an obvious neutral colour.“
Want to find out more about The Vintage Collection ?
Follow Laura and her vintage finds on Facebook and Instagram.
Shop the FOLD collection here.
Where there is a will, there is a way.