This blog post is the latest part of our Winter ‘Go Full Circle’ campaign, which is promoting the role of – and encouraging consumers to support - Welsh social enterprises, co-operatives and other community organisations in the run-up to Christmas.
So, the Christmas party is looming and you want to dress to impress all your friends and colleagues. But guess what - you haven’t got a thing to wear!
Before you make a mad dash to the department stores to pick up this season’s must-have little sparkly number, why not try Vintage Vision, a social enterprise based in Monmouthshire.
Vintage Vision sells a wonderful mix of retro and vintage clothing ... anything from 1880 to 1980 that is classic, beautiful, fashionable (again) or just plain lovely. It also does a mean line in really 'cheesy' vintage - just what you need for that fancy dress party! It runs three shops, one in Abergavenny, Chepstow and one in Blaenavon. It also attends and organises vintage fayres.
The business was started four years ago by Amanda Peters, Bernadette Kelly and Nicki Meedle. They were driven by the desire to save lovely, vintage clothing from being turned into rags. This is often what happens when clothing is taken to mainstream charity shops, which are looking for clothing donations which appeal to the masses. Dresses which have been kept and treasured for thirty to forty years aren’t wanted by the average charity shop customer and so are simply turned into rags.
But its their history which really makes outfits from Vintage Vision stand out – when people donate these clothes, they also donate a story. Perhaps this was a dress someone wore on their first date with their future husband; maybe it was their wedding dress; perhaps it was an outfit they bought after saving for months. These are clothes which have been loved and cherished.
However, what also makes Vintage Vision stand out from the usual charity clothing shops is the work it does providing women with an opportunity to share their knowledge, develop confidence and new skills, and access training and work experience. The business is entirely staffed by volunteers – there are around thirty people involved in sourcing, repairing, marketing and selling the vintage and retro clothing. Any profit it makes goes straight back into the business to support this. Vintage Vision has a management committee, and is a company limited by guarantee.
You can support the amazing work done by Vintage Vision by donating any gorgeous items in your own wardrobe, or by getting involved as a volunteer. Or you could head over to Vintage Vision to pick up a party outfit which will not only be completely inimitable, but will also have its own unique history.Go Full Circle directory. Happy Christmas and ‘buy social’.