INTERVIEW- CLARE LEWIS FOUNDER OF RETOLD VINTAGE
It’s become quite a ritual of mine to be shopping on Instagram on a Sunday morning while watching the Bachelor before going to my morning yoga session. My most recent addiction is Retold! A vintage shopping destination which never fails to stock classicly vintage pieces which are also very modern. I caught up with the lovely Founder Clare Lewis who has recently launched this vintage online shop which we all need to need to follow!
Tell us a bit about your background and what drew you to the Fashion world?
Before Retold Vintage I came from a 14-year career with Arcadia which I started soon after completing university (I studied Fashion Promotion at SIAD). Ask anyone who knows me and they will say that I have always loved fashion and the creative world even from a young age so I just followed my passion really and it led me to where I am today.
With Topshop, I specialised in VM and Creative and my time with them shaped me personally as a creative and also gave me invaluable experience of the industry we know today. I was fortunate to also travel and work Internationally (I was based in Australia for 3 years) which was so much fun and a huge part of my life.
Tell us about Retold and how it was born?
Retold was born out of a life-long love of fashion and vintage clothing. I have always been a vintage collector and anywhere I would travel to, one of my favourite past times is exploring the local vintage stores – they say so much about the people and the place! Over time I also became more aware of fast fashion and the damaging effect it’s been having on our planet and wanted to contribute to making a difference. Retold’s core values lie in promoting the benefits of choosing vintage over new and a more sustainable approach to consumption so these two motivations complimented each other perfectly.
What would you say sets your products apart from any other?
Retold specialises in curating vintage pieces for lovers of contemporary style. I handpick every item and each one is selected for its quality and unique design detail which I hope comes across when you view the collections. My heart lies with tailoring, beautiful cuts and premium fabrics and I love the clean aesthetic of the late 1980s and 1990s. I always go back to fashion images from this time for inspiration – I’m lucky to have inherited a collection of vintage Vogues going all the way back to the 1960’s from my grandmother and these are a constant source of ideas.
What would you say is your favourite thing about the business?
Definitely the sourcing! There is nothing better than hunting for vintage treasure and then finding it! Although I try to have an idea of what I’m after when sourcing most of the time the items find you and the process is quite serendipitous. It also allows me to travel which is one of my favourite things to do. To be able to combine vintage and travel is the dream for me.
What is your happiest moment from the business?
Definitely completing my first vintage fair! It was Style yourself Sustainable – an amazing event organised by Rachel Kan promoting how to enjoy and shop fashion more consciously. I was absolutely petrified the night before as it was a complete unknown but at the end of the day, it felt amazing. I had met some fantastic people and everyone had such lovely things to say about Retold. It gave me a real confidence boost and belief in my business.
What do you see for Retold in the future?
So many things! Right now its taking part in more sustainable fashion fairs across London and the UK. This is a really exciting time for vintage / second-hand businesses from a sustainability / slow fashion perspective and there is definitely a shift in how people are shopping. In London, there are some great events and pop-ups happening and I would love Retold to be a key player in this. Also as an ‘old school’ retailer as much as there are benefits to E-Commerce trading nothing beats a bricks and mortar representation of your brand, so one day would love Retold to have its very own store.
What advice would you give to aspiring sustainable brands?
Community and collaboration. There some great brands, designers, bloggers out there who are all doing such inspirational work however it does still seem to be quite niche and when you start your own business it can feel very lonely at times. Collaboration can be so much more impactful and you have the added support from connecting with like-minded brands and businesses. I cannot recommend enough starting locally and getting involved with as many events as possible.