‘Fast fashion’ is something we as students are very familiar with; the attraction of a cheap, mass produced handbag will at some point or another entice even the most fashion conscious.
But law graduate Chantelle Clough believes what may seem like a bargain, always comes at a cost: “We purchase a bag from Topshop aware that the next week our friend may own the exact same one, or even a similar, cheaper version from Primark!”
Clough recently graduated from Durham University, but despite leaving with a degree in law, the 21-year-old spent the summer establishing her own fashion business Vintage Recast, she explains: “Whilst at Durham I attended many formal events and became frustrated with the low selection of evening bags available, which often resulted in a high number of attendees having the same £30 clutch.”She says: “As a solution, I customised classic, simple bags with vintage accessories to create a bag that perfectly matched my outfit. My bags were always highly complemented and others remarked what a great idea it was! After leaving university I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to develop this idea further.”
Vintage Recast is based online and stocks a variety of unique, vintage brooches sourced from a mixture of different places, Clough’s aim is to transform the wardrobe essential clutch bag into a statement piece completely exclusive to the customer.
To ensure that every bag in the Vintage Recast collection is unique, Clough carefully selects each brooch from a variety of locations, “I will enquire about the origin of the brooch … Some of the vintage brooches may have been mass produced in their era, but as the brooch is incredibly old they have not all survived to this day,” she explains.
“I search the internet, antique shops, vintage shops and source them from travel … the collection is an eclectic mix of different styles, from nature to art deco inspired … as each brooch is unique, its audience appeal is unique also … a 16 and 60 year old may fall in love with the same brooch for completely different reasons,” Clough explains.
Vintage Recast also offers a bespoke service providing the customer with a one-of-a-kind clutch bag which reflects their personal taste or which can be commissioned to match a specific outfit, she explains:
“I think it’s great to have that feeling of satisfaction … when we have something that is unique to us it feels special, like a discovery, like finding a treasure … and you aren’t going to arrive at an event with the same accessories as others!”
Clough’s unique idea and hard work hasn’t gone un-noticed, magazines such as Grazia and Rubbish Magazine have complimented her collection via Twitter, with Shelly Vella, fashion director of Cosmopolitan calling it “absolutely gorgeous”.
The secret to success, says Clough, is to “love the product you are selling or service you are providing. Other than that, account for hidden costs that can arise and always ask for advice from others. It is amazing the great ideas that can just arise from a chat with friends!”
Clough will be beginning her solicitor training in January 2012, but says she loves fashion and her business so much that she will continue with her collection alongside her studies, “for now clutch bags are the main priority, although I am currently investigating the possibility of expansion, perhaps into scarves and gloves.”
Vintage Recast currently stock two different styles of clutch bag sourced from an ethical wholesale supplier in purple, silver, cream, black and red, to view Clough’s collection, or to enquire about your own vintage clutch, visit www.vintagerecast.tumblr.comTweet