Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Ethical Boutique Spotlight: Village Vintage

I'm so excited to bring you Kindness by Design's first ever guest post. Here's a fantastic feature by a great friend and vintage aficionado - Olivia Simmons - Enjoy!

Village Vintage is a retro wonder-store promoting ethical consumerism. This place ticks all the boxes. It’s a small local business with a retro focus and an emphasis on social and environmental responsibility. 

The mother-daughter team at Village Vintage present a beautifully decorated shop packed with amazing finds. They do the hard yards for us vintage lovers; seeking, sorting and fixing quality retro clothes and wares to sell on for a song. We had a chat to Marissa to find out more about Village Vintage!

Q. What’s the story behind the store?

Village Vintage came about in 2010, in a funny kind of way.
I had quit university after a year of volunteering and I was trying to find a job that would sit happily with an environmentally ethical lifestyle. I wanted a job that I could ride my bike to every day and I wanted to introduce consumers to a more responsible way of buying. 

My mother had been wanting to set up a vintage-retro shop all her life being very talented in textiles and an avid vintage collector. So when the opportunity came up for us to lease a space, I decided it was time to give it a go.

Q. What can we find in your store?

A cave of entertaining surprises! We have an eclectic collection of authentic vintage and retro clothing from the 50's onward, for sale and for hire. We also have many quality second hand garments from today.

We sell a gorgeous collection of vintage hats, handbags, shoes, belts, jewelry and home wares. On top of that we have many locally handmade gifts and home wares including handmade paper, bags, cards and earrings - all made using recycled materials.
We specialise in custom made rock'n'roll skirts, locally made in recycled and vintage fabrics.

Q. What makes your store ethical?

At Village Vintage it is our goal to encourage a way of wearing clothing that does not rely on the exploitation of natural resources or people. In store, we use recycled packaging when necessary and all of our tags are hand-made from recycled paper and card.

By selling recycled clothing we reduce the amount of waste going into landfill and lessen the demand on the manufacturing of new garments therefore reducing pollution, avoiding slave labour and other harmful practices.

By buying local, hand-made items we reduce our carbon footprint and promote low-mileage consumption.

Also much of our stock has been purchased through goodwill stores, and therefore most of our expenses go to charity, which is a wonderful thing, we think!!!

Q. Is the world running out of genuine retro goods?

Naturally, genuine retro vintage goods are becoming rarer and rarer to find. In our experience, it is almost impossible to find a pre-1950s garment that is in wearable condition.

This is an interesting trend and it re-enforces the fact that shops like ours will not be around for ever. However, we search high and low to find remaining pieces and even restore many items that we find may be a little out of shape.

So many customers come in to our store wishing they didn't throw out their clothes in the 70s! This is a lesson to us all to be more mindful of what we consume and what we throw away!

Q. Who are your customers?

Men and women of all ages are attracted to our store. We have many rock n’ roll fans who love our custom-made rockabilly items. Many collectors, artists and environmentally conscious shoppers also buy from us. We also have many special interest groups such as circus performers and other entertainers who regularly hire and buy from us, which makes life in the shop wonderfully vibrant.

We love to encourage the purchase of second hand items as a sustainable way of consuming. Our customers love the variety of kooky and unique garments that they find. This makes us happier than any money we make!

Q. Tell us a little about some of your locally made items
Most of these items are made by my mother and myself. We both have a passion for recycling and creating and love to share this with our customers.

We stock a complete range of locally handmade paper, masks, origami earrings and gift cards, which are all made using 100% recycled paper in a carbon neutral process. Our hand-made bags have been a huge hit, made with retro materials, recycled denim, tablecloths, doilies and other beautiful bits and pieces.
Our locally hand-made beanies, scarves and hats are in a higher demand than supply! We also sell hand-made earrings, crafted lovingly by a local artist and we often have new locally made pieces coming in on consignment.
On top of this, many of our vintage garments have been beautifully handmade by the loving housewife of yesteryear and we are overjoyed to stock such precious works of art!

Q. Do you have a favourite item in stock right now?

I just can't take my eyes off an original 1960s mini dress that came to us from the closet of a customer's mother! It is amazingly patterned with gorgeous contrasting purples and oranges and has eastern influences in the collar and sleeves. I can't wait to see who will take it home!!

Q. What can we expect from Vintage Village Retro in the future?

Customers can expect to see the expansion of our hire attire, our men's section and also our pin up/rockabilly section. We hope that our secret little shop will become a must stop destination for all conscious shoppers! 

We will continue to support locally hand-made items and to ensure quality, genuine vintage at affordable prices.


You can check out the Village Vintage online or in person from Tuesday to Saturday at Shop 5/41 Bells Line of Road,  North Richmond in New South Wales.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Oh I Do Love to Be Beside the Seaside!

To celebrate Kindness by Design moving home to Australia and my new place by the sea - I've put together this collection of cruelty-free and ecochic nautical niceness. Can you smell that salty air?

Crochet Sailboat Brooch by Lowie - I think this brooch made from organic cotton is simply darling!
The Wave Charcoal Crew Tee by Hendrick Boards - I adore the amazing animal welfare work (and clothes!) of the super triplets at Hendrick Boards. Check out the super cute cameo of William the pup in the top corner of this awesome tee
The Large Beach Tote by Hendrick Boards - This has to be one of the coolest beach totes around! Sporting the ever awesome William pup, this bag is made from 100% certified organic cotton canvas and USD$7 from each purchase goes towards helping shelter animals
Newport Blue Hemp Bracelet by Hendrick Boards - Top off your Orange County inspired ensemble with this unique bracelet with a portion of the proceeds going towards critters in need
Come Out of Your Seashell Belt from ModCloth - This funky and stylish seashell belt is made from vegan faux leather. For channeling your inner sea-nymph...
Waverly Nautical Stripe Slip-On Shoe by Dr. Scholl's - This comfy vegan shoe with built in massaging gel looks perfect for a day out on the yacht
Marielle Skirt by Monki - This quirky skirt is sure to keep you anchored to fun on the ocean blue!
Staying in Ship Shape Sweater from ModCloth - Stay warm at the beach during those winter months with this cute sweater complete with an oceanic optical illusion to boot...and grab yourself some organic fairtrade hot chocolate while you're at it!
Seas Riverwood Necklace by T_Design - What can I say about this stunning piece of unique handmade jewellery? The colours and organic shapes remind me of sky and sea - so fresh
Pair of Stuffed Shirt Stripey Ocean Pacific Yacht Caravan Cushion Covers by Leslie Works - These fantastic sea-faring cushions have been crafted from upcycled 2nd hand shirts!
Tidal Dock Maillot by Pez D'Or - Feel ship shape in this eye-catching one piece
Nautical Navy and White Striped Cotton Bag from Black - Plenty of room for a big bright beach towel, your sunscreen, book and munchables! Love the rope handles :o)
Wave Necklace by Emma Ware - This amazing wearable artwork has been handmade using reclaimed materials. It evokes images of flotsam and jetsam found by a lucky beachcomber. Gorgeous!
Annemarie Sailor Shorts by Ralph Lauren - These cotton shorts are extremely harbour-side chic! I really like the button detailing
Feel the Attraction Hemp Bracelet by The Salty Surfer - Each of these tribal vibe bracelets has been handmade and each one is different
Ready or Naut Flats from ModCloth - Loving these delightful dockside shoes
Nautical Cardigan by Lowie - This super sweet certified organic cotton cardigan has been handloomed in a small family factory. Pop it on and watch the Gene Kelly classic Anchors Away
Walrus Wearing Bowler Hat Brooch by Tall Rabbit - This dapper fellow would love to accompany you on your beach picnic. The walrus' scientific name, Odobenus rosmarus, is Latin for "tooth-walking sea-horse"
Voyages Gold Leaf Cuff by Evocateur - This vintage-inspired piece has been crafted using centuries old artisan techniques. Feel like a treasure hunter from across the ocean deep. Here's hoping Evocateur start sourcing only fairtrade and fairmined gold in the near future
Sea Blue Pippies Tea Towel by Elkhorn - Each lovely linen towel has been printed using water-based and solvent free paints
Walk Like a Crustacean Sandals from ModCloth - These vegan crab sandals are crazy cute! :D
Drift Necklace by Oceanides - This sublime piece of jewellery was inspired by vastness of the ocean and the wonders that dwell beneath its waves
Thurlestone Nautical Wellington Boots by Hunter - Weather looking a bit dreary for your day by the sea? No problem! Slip on these sleek and stylish boots and you're good to go!
Upcycled Shabby Beach Mason Jars and Plates by Sweet Meas - Beautiful decorative features for any self-respecting beach shack!
Twist Knot Earrings by Rachelle Celine - Now you can wear an elegant sailor's knot in each ear
Urchin Greeting Cards by Two Birds Four Hands - These ocean life inspired greeting cards are printed on 100% recycled paper
Anchor Ring by Daisy Knights - This striking ring has been crafted from recycled sterling silver
Malindi Fisherman's Pants by Bangili Jangili - These uber comfy pants have been created using an array of vintage East African rich cotton (Khanga)
Nautical Platform Sandals by Stella McCartney - Sail away to your happy place with these delicious vegan shoes!
Nautical Handbag Charm & Key Ring by Aspinal of London - A charming nod to life on the sea
Recycled Glass and Silver Hoop Earrings by Beaucoco - These enchanting earrings remind me of bottles washed ashore with a scrolled letter loving tucked inside. The glass for these earrings has been gathered from all over West Africa and individually reformed using clay moulds fired in an earth kiln
Seahorse Stainless Steel Drink Bottle by EarthLust Bottles - This 600ml bottle has been ethically manufactured in China and proceeds of each sale go toward helping environmental causes
Sea Shepherd Stainless Steel Drink Bottle by ECOtanka - Feel like a pirate with a heart of gold with this 800ml water bottle with 10% of profits going straight to the ocean charity Sea Shepherd
Peekaboo Dugong Brooch from the Australian Marine Conservation Society - Dugongs are the teddy bears of the sea. I adore them! Buy this sweet brooch and help them out!
Healing Water in Silver by October Anniversary - This exquisite piece of jewellery has been created using recycled sterling silver and 10% of the proceeds goes to Happy Hearts Fund, a non-profit foundation that helps children after natural disasters
Organic Cotton Whale Pillow by Cecil Clyde - Have a whale of a good time with this wondrous pillow!
St. Croix Sandals by olsenHaus - These 100% vegan beauties are just right for promenading down the boardwalk with the sea breeze in your hair
Crochet Sun Hat from People Tree - Last but not least when you're outside enjoying the beach, a good sun hat is essential! This one has been woven from palm leaves under Fair Trade conditions in Ecuador