With the recession at a height and the world desperate to become more eco-friendly, vintage fashion is undoubtedly all the rage. This is hardly news for students, however, who have long been attracted not only to the unique pieces on offer, but also the purse-pleasing prices.
Stag — a boutique specialising in re-fashioned vintage pieces — opened last year in the West End. Its owner, Mary Campbell, is refreshingly Glaswegian, being Glasgow born, bred and read - at our own Glasgow University, where she studied French and Italian. For years, she says, her primary interest was design: “I have always been passionate about embroidery and textiles.” After years of working in education, she returned to study as a mature student, gaining a Masters degree from the Glasgow School of Art.
Mary explains how her shop aims “to breathe new life into old things” — remodelling and restoring vintage clothing and creating brand new clothes from her own collection of vintage fabrics, as well as tailoring pieces brought to her by customers to suit their needs. As soon as I stepped into the boutique, I was struck by the distinctive use of stags’ antlers as the store’s logo. Mary describes the three factors behind that choice: "it's edgy, Scottish and lends itself to a motif." Indeed, the antler motif is one of the key ways in which Stag’s collection is personalized and made truly original, with the emblem appearing on many of its clothes and accessories.
But what makes Stag such a breath of fresh air? Over recent years, mixing and matching exclusive vintage pieces with designer and high street brands has become the height of fashion. However, while you might strive for individuality, it’s easy to feel intimidated by retro stores, or unsure as how to work vintage into your wardrobe. Stag’s clothes combine vintage style with a modern design sensibility. Mary Campbell suggests “choosing one stand-out vintage piece to wear alongside everyday brands,” and recommends starting small by combining high street clothing with vintage accessories. Stag’s own range of accessories (some specially commissioned, some re-modelled) is particularly stunning and bang on trend right now. I asked if the collection was specifically designed to follow the trends of a particular season: for example, Mary is currently working with Harris Tweed, a fabric that’s been singled out as a staple this autumn/winter. Mary, however, says that she doesn’t deliberately set out to follow trends, simply adding, “As a designer, you just get a sense of what’s going to be popular in the future...”
If you are serious about fashion or looking for a truly one-off piece, Stag is most definitely worth a visit. Mary specialises in embroidery, with one of her idols in the fashion world being the colourful and eccentric Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, and she prefers to keep the shape of her pieces simple, experimenting instead with prints and embellishment. The result? An eclectic collection that is highly wearable — and thoroughly Glaswegian.
Stag Boutique, 269 Maryhill Road, Glasgow or online at stagstyle.com