Jackie Burger has been buying and wearing vintage since she found the freedom to define her own style as a student. “I still love the fabrics, the quality, the story… there is so much contained in a well-chosen vintage item. It can only add a new dimension to what I wear. I don’t see the shame in old clothes,” she says.
Jackie describes herself as a style storyteller. The founder of Salon58 and former editor of ELLE magazine spends time with women creating their style narratives. She doesn’t do wardrobe makeovers nor buys her clients new clothes. Instead she looks at what her clients already own. “When I coach people in style, I talk about finding their narrative. Who they are… Style is not about a make-over,” she says. “I don’t look at style as fashion but as narrative.”
Another lover of vintage is Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly, editor of Wanted and co-founder of Vintage with Love, who also picks up the fashion-as-narrative theme and says that fashion is a story that never ends. “By trawling vintage shops all over the world, you can discover different chapters of that story. I don’t even need to buy them all – I just love seeing pieces that I’ve seen in designer collections over the years and remembering the trends and fashion and how we all wore them.”
We’ve come to refer to most well-cared for and carefully sourced secondhand clothes as vintage. Strictly speaking, vintage clothes are older than 20 years and must be higher quality than the tatty T-shirts your partner bought when he or she was a student, and the stores selling them are more curated than the thrift shop at the end of the street.
Often there are clothes in Jackie’s clients’ wardrobes that are unworn, and will remain unworn. She is generally concerned with getting unworn clothes back into the system and created The Retro Rendezvous, a vintage market in Stellenbosch, with Erla Rabe. This weekend they will hold their fifth market. “It’s not about thrifting. There are beautiful pieces to buy. The clothes have been quality controlled, mended and dry cleaned,” she says.
Jackie says she finds that a younger generation of women holds a sacred bond with their mothers and grandmothers, and as a consequence of this, has a deep respect for older women’s wardrobes. Young women wear their mothers’ and grandmothers’ clothes with great respect. “This dignity resonates with me,” says Jackie.
Vintage markets are our opportunity to find something unexpected, and to look for luxury labels that we might not afford normally. But, also buying something pre-worn or vintage gives it a second life, or a second chapter. So head over to these carefully curated vintage markets and dig for vintage fashion gold.
Stellenbosch: The Retro Rendezvous:
The Retro Rendezvous is a vintage market in Stellenbosch, which takes place once a quarter. It was founded by Erla Rabe and Jackie Burger and is organized in conjunction with Illana Marais and Rolien Verhoog, teachers at the PJ Olivier Centre. They invite quality-controlled traders to sell mended, dry-cleaned and gently pre-worn clothes. You’ll find some beautiful pieces here. The R10 entrance fee goes towards the art centre’s bursary fund. There are change rooms, coffee, newspapers and plenty of parking.
WHEN: Saturday 26 May (next one is on 18 August)
TIME: 09:30 – 14:00
WHERE: PJ Olivier Art Centre, Blom Street Stellenbosch
FB AND INSTAGRAM: @TheRetroRendezvous
Johannesburg: Vintage with Love:
Looking for an elegant and beautifully curated pop up sale of very good quality pre-worn fashion? Don’t miss the Vintage with Love sale next month. Vintage with Love, founded by fashion-lovers Leigh Ord and Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly six years ago, has raised close to R4-million for literacy programmes.
WHEN: 1, 2, 3 June 2018
TIME: 1 June 5pm-8pm, 2 June 10am-4pm, 3 June 10am to 1pm
WHERE: Wanderers building, the forum | the campus, 57 Sloane Street, Bryanston
FB AND INSTAGRAM: @Vintagewithlovesa
Photo credit: portrait of Jackie Burger in a vintage skirt is by Niquita Bento; others by Nadine van Driel