A few weeks ago, I spotted a vintage shoot on Instagram. One of the models, Yui Keeping, sent me to meet Lulu Sono at her vintage stall on Church Street in Cape Town, which led me to meeting Lulu’s sons. Her youngest Xabisa is the stylist of these images and Ocean, her eldest, is the founder of the platform VTHRIFF. VTHRIFF started as an online thrift store and has developed into a platform that rents, sells and sources vintage and secondhand clothes. Ocean told us more:
Please describe the clothes and the concept of this shoot?
We call it Fashion War Lords, representing a combination of two influential eras in fashion, late Victorian and WW2. The tragic romance between modernity, power and culture is beautiful. Finding a way of portraying this through clothing was exciting. When one is tough, the other is sweet, while aristocrat silhouettes were curvy and flowing, the war demanded sturdy and precise. She loved magical floral but he wants stripes and badges. The two main themes continuously fed off each other and the clash is just beautiful. We understood that the venue and models were essential to the shoot, just as much as the outfits. Picking out and styling these looks had to make sense to not only the story that we’re depicting but also aesthetically pleasing in modern conditions.
Can you explain how you (your mother) source the clothes ?
It’s not about where the clothes are sourced but rather the items we source. We focus a lot on hand picking the right garments. We know the aesthetic and feel we want.
Can you tell me why there are so many very good clothes – where do they come from? Europe? Asia?
Would definitely say a combination of both. Like I mentioned in the previous answer, we put emphasis on the selection of garments and the aesthetic of the garments.
What do you think of the second hand clothing industry in Africa / South Africa?
I think it’s a fast growing industry and helping a lot of young creatives who do not have the funds to do streamline fashion. Another thing is that “vintage” has become its own subculture, growing underground roots. I think VTHRIFF brings something new and exciting to vintage culture.
Are there many people doing what you do in Cape Town? Are you a tight community?
Arguably so but VTHRIFF is more of a vintage style and fashion house. We want to evolve beyond just selling quality vintage. We have a great passion for creative fashion photography and styling.
What services do you offer?
A bit of everything…at VTHRIFF we strictly sell quality vintage, do event styling and hiring out for shoots. We’ve been extensively collecting unique vintage pieces for about a decade now. These are kept at our studio.
How do you and your mother decide what clothes to sell and what to keep for these services?
Only she knows. Her eye and understanding of vintage clothing is unmatchable … we’re very fortunate to have been trained by someone like her. She plays the role in VTHIFF ‘s unique vintage aesthetic and appeal.
Where can people find you?
Our studio space is at 25 Yew Street in Salt River, Cape Town. We are on Instagram and Facebook @v_thriff or email us on [email protected] / [email protected] and we have a stall on week days in Church street and on weekends at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.