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Lancaster University’s Fashion Society ISSUE launched earlier this year, and has held some awesome events so far, namely, it’s most recent event at The Exchange in Lancaster.
The Exchange is a premium vintage store in Lancaster, full to the brim of designer and vintage-wear. Having personally visited the store before, I know that The Exchange has some real gems – I have even seen Chanel bags in the window on my way to the bus stop before!
Vintage fashion has always been an area of fashion that’s interested me, but I’ve never really worn anything you could class as vintage…other than, perhaps, my dad’s 80’s cord Wrangler jacket – it was literally the most beautiful thing on the planet. My grandma has planned, sorry if this sounds ominous, to pass down her mink jackets to my sister and I, although I do object to wearing real fur, they are absolutely gorgeous, and clearly a sentimental family heirloom from here on out.
After speaking with Amy De Robillard, ISSUE’s Affiliations Officer, I have learned more about the event. Attendees were taken downstairs to the vintage cellar by owner Sally, and shown racks full of amazing vintage-wear. They were shown 7 vintage wedding dresses and were challenged to work out what era they were from, using clues from the material, stitching and wear on them. The oldest was from the 1930s. Amy commented that “it was really interesting to learn about all the little clues” that can tell you when the dresses were made, such as whether they have a metal or plastic zip. Attendees discussed designers with The Exchange’s owner and learned all kinds of interesting things from her, she was insightful and experienced in the fashion industry. Upstairs they sell designer clothes and accessories and as Amy recounts “when we went up there we were shown a counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag and she told us how we can tell that it’s a fake”. They also discussed the industry as a whole, and its effects on fashion.
I interviewed three members of Fashion Soc about the event: Anyah Roberts (AR), Anastazja Klimczyk (AK) and Zaynah Hawa (ZH).
Had you ever visited The Exchange prior to the event? Would you return?
AR: I hadn’t been to The Exchange before the event, and I would go back – she had some really interesting pieces.
ZH: I had never even heard of The Exchange before being invited by the society! I would definitely return; one of the members and I are planning a trip back so that we can really go through the clothes and pick out things we want to try on, and consider buying!
What is your opinion of vintage clothing?
AR: I love vintage clothes. I’m more into 90s vintage, however finding out about clothes dating back to the 60s and even the 30s gave me insight into fashion that I hadn’t previously considered.
ZH: I’ve never had an opinion on vintage clothing before this talk, it was never an area that I would have considered buying from for everyday wear. But following this event, I have more of an interest in looking through and finding items that I like and wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
Do you think it’s important to donate clothes and accessories to charity and/or dress agencies? And, to buy them from there too?
AR: I definitely think donating clothes should be done more frequently. Too often we buy and throw away clothing without too much thought towards the consequences. This topic came up during [the owner’s] her talk, that when buying from shops such as Primark, there’s an expectancy that they won’t last long. The clothes we were shown in he Exchange have stood the test of time, and highlighted the importance of quality fashion.
ZH: I love the idea of donating clothes to a shop for them to be bought and re-worn by others! It’s a great way to minimise waste, and allow people to enjoy items that they otherwise would not be able to; for example, designer things sold at a reduced price because they are second hand.
What kind of atmosphere did the event have?
AR: The atmosphere at the event was relaxed and really fun because everyone who came was interested in fashion, and intrigued by the explanations behind some of the clothing in her store.
ZH: The atmosphere was quite inspiring; I felt as though we were really learning a lot of new things about vintage clothing from the lady who delivered the talk.
Would you attend another Fashion Society event? And why should other people attend them?
AR: I would attend future ISSUE events because I am keen to learn more. I feel like all the members and the Exec that I’ve met share similar interests and are really passionate, which creates a great group atmosphere. Other people who are interested in fashion and want to learn more should definitely come to future events, because you’ll be able to not only find out more about fashion, but do it in an exciting, unique way with other like-minded people.
ZH: I would definitely attend another Fashion Society event, and I would bring my friends along too! I think talks such as this one from an experienced person in the fashion industry are useful in providing an interesting representation on issues and topics within the industry.