West end apparel

Beatrice Cook

The popularity of vintage clothing and charity shop bought attire has been on the increase of late; with the recent opening of the £10 Thrift Store on Great Western Road, as well as the release of the annoyingly catchy track ‘Thrift Store’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, there has been a noticeable surge in the need to wear the cast-offs of a previous generation. Make no mistake, there is a difference between the more refined vintage shopping, and its close (and cheaper) relation, the charity shop, but out of this has been born a hybrid of the two, the thrift store. Cool clothes, at more or less half the price; for those on a student budget, this is particularly ideal.

The West End offers a wide selection of clothes shops for all pockets and purses, from the charity shops that line Byres Road, including the staple Cancer Research and Oxfam, to Vintage Guru and the Glasgow Vintage Company on Great Western Road. Not only that, but the online market is ever-expanding, with the launch of the new, Greater Glasgow-based Vintage Point at the forefront of all things fashionably vintage.

Vintage Point sells vintage and retro clothing and accessories, with all items advertised personally selected for its value, as well as its affordability for potential customers. Owner Karen Darragh travels to local fairs up and down the country with the aim to bring the vintage clothing buzz to as wide an audience as possible. The Glasgow Guardian spoke to Karen Darragh and asked for her thoughts on the increased popularity of vintage-wear, and what inspired her to get involved in such a project:

vintage fashion

Guardian: What inspired you to start up a vintage-wear store?

Darragh: I would say that I have always loved vintage. It has always proved popular throughout the years.

Guardian: Your business is largely online; is there any particular reason for this?

Darragh: The online store attracts a wider audience, but it’s not all about being online.  I sell a lot at vintage markets and fairs, and actually meeting the customers is far more satisfying. It means I can pick up some tips and get loads of feedback about what people are looking for. I always post on Facebook or the online shop where our next fair will be.

Guardian: Do you think there has been an increase lately in the popularity of vintage clothes, particularly with the youth? 

Darragh: Yes most definitely; when I was 18, there were only a few vintage shops in Glasgow that we could visit. The choice is much greater now due to demand and the students and young folk that I have met have a passion for vintage and retro.

Guardian: What have been your influences with regards to the kind of items you sell?

Darragh: I am mostly influenced by quality, I don’t want to sell something that doesn’t look or feel good.  It has to stand out!

Guardian:Who would you say is your target audience, and why?

Darragh: My target audience is absolutely anyone who wishes to pop along to our fairs, or just simply shop online. Vintage doesn’t have just one kind of audience, it’s for everyone,  I do however get a lot of feedback from students, but I think that is because there is a higher volume of students going to vintage markets and fairs, and I get to chat to them more.

Launched in March 2012, Vintage Point has previously attended fairs including ‘Granny Would Be Proud’ at Hillhead Book Club in the West End, as well as Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh and a pop-up shop on the second Saturday of every month at Au Bar in the centre of Edinburgh, with more planned for the coming year.

On a more local level, Vintage Guru and the £10 Thrift Store offer up a veritable assortment of vintage-wear; Vintage Guru, based on Byres Road, began life as an online store 15 years ago, with the move to a physical shop signifying the increased demand for all things vintage. Open 7 days a week, this quirky store stocks women and menswear, as well as shoes and accessories, all of excellent quality, and friendly staff providing helpful advice and service. Open till 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, Vintage Guru undoubtedly provides the West End of Glasgow with the opportunity to satisfy our vintage-wear desires, with a range of prices suitable for all budgets.

The £10 Thrift Store, however, is a fine example of does-what-it-says-on-the-tin; clearly distributed stock and a spacious shop floor ensures you a stress-free browsing session, with the masses of items guaranteeing you’ll find something to add to your already bursting wardrobe of alternative attire, or to wear to the next fancy dress themed party or flat-crawl, all at a fraction of the original price. Be warned; amongst some of the truly vintage and retro clothing, I did find items dating from far more recent years from high street stores such as H&M. The £10 Thrift Store is well worth a rummage, and you’ll undoubtedly find yourself an achingly hipster outfit at a cut-rate price; in the words of the illustrious Macklemore, ‘One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up.’

Shopping in the West End has never been easier; the variety of stores and price ranges means that everyone can enjoy a new outfit without breaking the bank. With the growing popularity for vintage clothes comes a new wave of alternative and kooky shops, with both online and high street stores vying for attention from students and professionals alike. Vintage Point, the £10 Thrift Store and Vintage Guru are simply a drop in the ocean when it comes to the world of vintage-wear, but we expect the fashions from all these shops to be gracing the veritable catwalk that is University Avenue any time soon.

For more info on the shops mentioned, visit their websites or find them on Facebook:

Vintage Point – www.thevintagepoint.co.uk
£10 Thrift Store – www.facebook.com/thetenpoundthriftstore
Vintage Guru – www.vintageguru.co.uk
Glasgow Vintage Company – www.glasgowvintage.co.uk