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Original Vintage

Geoff Nicholson

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Have you ever just stared in fascination at a really old picture of a place that you are either really familiar with, or it has some sort of historical significance? Where was the man with the brief case going? Who was that family of five crossing the street? What was the weather like on that particular day? As you keep staring into the picture, the questions just keep coming. There is something about the past that always draws my interest. The irony is, in the fashion world we are constantly studying the past, to get inspiration for future collections. We have archival records of fashion trends going back hundreds of years. Each season, when I’m preparing my next collection, I get overwhelmed looking through all these old books, sorting through hundreds of old fabric clippings, hand painted paisleys and things I have no idea what they were intended for, trying to figure out if it’s even possible for some of these designs to be manipulated and converted into something that will be new and fresh for now. On my last trip to Italy, something different happened. I came across a group of books that were wrapped with metal bindings, weighed at least 20 lbs. each and looked like they survived a war. As I opened the first book and saw the hand paint medallions and half-finished paisleys, I got that same feeling I get when I look into that old picture where my imagination starts to run wild with questions. All of these designs were from the 1930’s in a time that economic chaos and global instability were at all-time highs. To say there was a lot going on at this time would be a huge understatement. As I slowly turned the pages and looked at the different dates, 23/11/39 (the beginning of WWII) 11/11/37 (middle of the Great Depression) etc... These designs took on a whole new meaning. Normally, I would look for ways to modify these types of designs to make them more current. Not this time though. This time, I wanted and almost felt obligated to keep these designs exactly the way they were during this time period. They were perfect as they were and needed to be seen as someone back in the 1930’s would have seen them. So from this inspiration came the group of designs I deemed ORIGINAL VINTAGE. The concept was to simply keep and preserve these old designs as they were. We all love a good story and I think these designs accomplished that. It is a strange feeling to think that there were people back in the 30’s wearing one of these exact designs that you are wearing now.