10 years of indie biz life

Here’s me in my first HQ in Spain 10 years ago when I’d just launched

The Stellar Boutique. 

July 2009, back when the internet was still a bit of a mystery to me, I only really used it to book flights, I never shopped online and I didn’t even have Facebook! I know, I mean…wtf?

All I knew was I wanted a fashion & vintage shop. I’d originally intended to have an actual physical boutique but when it fell through at the last minute (after investing in and even decorating the shop) I was devastated. A friend suggested I opened an online shop instead 
‘it’s the way of the future’ she said, 
‘internet shopping? Surely it’ll never catch on’ I said! 
The thought of it just didn’t excite me as much and, as a total technophobe, I had no clue where to start. 
Thankfully I heeded her advice and set out on this arduous yet rewarding journey, learning as I went and making a string of mistakes along the way too. 
To say it’s been a challenge is an understatement, there have been highs and lows galore. Running a small business on your own (on a shoestring) is tough, it’s full of difficult decisions, obstacles, problems, long days & late nights and anyone with an indie biz will know that sometimes the business has to be juggled around an array of part-time jobs just to stay afloat! 
One summer my shop was one of 5 jobs I had on the go in order to buy stock and pay the bills! 

There are times when you lose faith in yourself and question your abilities and there have even been moments when I considered throwing in the towel and getting a regular ‘secure’ 9 to 5! 

But this is not a violin moment, on the contrary!

 
To anyone considering starting up their own business, my only advice is to just go for it. As long as you’re passionate about what you do and are prepared to dig deep and work hard, you will get there. I’ve still got a long way to go and a lot to learn but I am loving every minute (most of the time) and to everyone who’s ever bought anything from me I thank you from the bottom of my heart! You have made this whole journey possible 😘

Ok, enough of the Oscar-style speech, better get back to work 👩‍💻

 

We are 10!

Woohoo I made it

🙌🏼🎂🎈

The Stellar Boutique is 10 years old today!

To help me celebrate this milestone birthday and to say a massive thank you to all my lovely customers I’d love to give you 10% off storewide from now until Sunday.

So come and join the birthday party, fill your cart with all your favourite things and use code ‘happyten’ at the checkout to get 10% off everything

💋💋💋

TAKE ME SHOPPING HERE

The Guardian – is vintage the most eco way to shop?

Totally delighted to have got my 2 pence worth in for an article on vintage & sustainability for The Guardian.

I’m thrilled to be part of such an important conversation in such a major publication.
Viva la Vintage!

See the full article here!

Like it or loathe it, when Kim Kardashian wears something, people take notice. With the reality TV star wearing secondhand Azzedine Alaïa to Paris fashion week, secondhand Jean Paul Gaultier to a party and a secondhand 1990s Thierry Mugler gown to an award ceremony, it suggests change is afoot. Who would have thought that Kardashian – a woman worth $350m (£270m), who usually wears Balmain and bodycon – would be making a case for sustainable fashion?

As consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, they are looking for a more sustainable way to shop. Could buying secondhand be the answer?

Vintage, it seems, is increasingly in vogue across the board, from Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who wore 1960s Dior to a christening, to its appearance in British Vogue (the May issue asks: “Does your dress look vintage?”), to high street stores H&M, Arket and & Other Stories announcing they would trial vintage and secondhand clothes sales on their websites. High-end boutique Browns has also just launched the label One Vintage, which uses antique textiles to create new garments. Octavia Bradford, the womenswear buyer for Browns, says: “Sustainability is the loudest conversation in fashion right now.”

A study shows that, last year, 64% of women were willing to buy pre-owned pieces compared with 45% in 2016 – and it is thought that by 2028, 13% of the clothes in women’s wardrobes are likely to be secondhand. Fashion circularity, a new term referring to the recycled life of a garment, is projected to reach $51bn in five years, up from the current $24bn, according to ThredUp’s annual resale report.

The Stellar Boutique Press publicity image
 The Stellar Boutique Photograph: Publicity Image

Stella McClure, the founder of the online shop The Stellar Boutique, has noticed a shift. When she opened 20 years ago “there was still a stigma attached” – conjuring images of the yellow sweat patches and emotional baggage people often associate with used clothing. “But now (thankfully) it is not just acceptable – it’s cool and has completely captured the fashion zeitgeist,” she says.

Vintage has been venturing on to the high street in fits and starts – in 2000, Portobello Road’s Peekaboo Vintage was welcomed into Topshop’s Oxford Circus flagship store. In 2010, Asos launched its Marketplace, which helped to bring vintage wares to a much wider – and crucially, online – audience.

If the trend has waned of late, this has been purely about aesthetics – minimalism replaced boho chic, and modernity was more in demand than 1970s florals. But fashion has shifted. Aside from an increased awareness of sustainability, vintage fashion fits neatly into the wider mood of the Instagram age, where authenticity and originality – not being seen in the same outfit as anyone else – are highly prized. What better way to stand out than to wear clothes few others are likely to own?

Fashion tends to mine the past. But many of today’s most exciting young designers, from punk-revivalist Charles Jeffrey to James Theseus Buck and Luke Brooks of Rottingdean Bazaar, are looking to decades before they were born for inspiration. “High-end design teams are referencing past eras,” says Nicky Albrechtsen, the author of Vintage Fashion Complete. She refers to the prairie-style dresses of Erdem and Zimmermann, “reminiscent of the nostalgic fashions of the 70s”, as well as cult brands such as The Vampire’s Wife and Batsheva.

“Seeing such strong references on the catwalk gives confidence to fashionistas to embrace the original dresses and showcase original pieces in a modern way,” says Albrechtsen. According to Scarlet Eden, a vintage buyer at Beyond Retro, if the pieces the high street produces are based on vintage trends: “We’re able to offer customers the original looks.”

Vintage naysayers who may have been put off in the past by thoughts of rummaging around in jumble-sale-like basements may be persuaded by the ability to buy online. “The popularity of online vintage shops is great for those who don’t have access to everything a city such as New York has to offer,” says Gabriel Held, described by Vogue as “Instagram’s most celebrated vintage dealer”.

But it is not all rosy: opening up the market with numerous online shops has meant less quality control. Held sees “a lot of mediocre used clothing being marketed as vintage … Something doesn’t have to be 20 years old to be considered vintage, but, for me, if it’s not true vintage, then it should be something extraordinary.”

This is where the lines blur between secondhand and vintage. For Albrechtsen, vintage means any era up to the early 80s, while Eden and McClure consider it to be clothing that is more than 20 years old. Held says his definition “is not set in stone” – he even has some contemporary pieces in his own archive “that I know will be collectible in 10 years’ time”.

Virginia Bates, whose Notting Hill vintage emporium attracted the likes of Naomi Campbell and Donatella Versace before it closed in 2012, used to stock items from the end of the 19th century. Her definition of vintage runs “up to the 1920s, 30s, a bit of 40s, occasionally 50s … I don’t consider 60s vintage. I would never have sold that because I was there, I was wearing it.” But, as she says: “With another generation coming up, the 60s is the equivalent of what I thought of as antique when I opened my shop.”

Vintage 1970s Brown Tooled Floral Leather Shoulder Bag from Peekaboo Vintage
Vintage 1970s Brown Tooled Floral Leather Shoulder Bag from Peekaboo Vintage
Photograph: Asos Marketplace

Albrechtsen says: “Many professionals now include any [era]-defining garments – by which I mean iconic or clever designs.” This is where the resurgence and reverence of certain 90s styles comes in, arguably spearheaded by cult Peckham shop Wavey Garms. “Nineties sportswear is,” according to Albrechtsen, “very clever in terms of design … so it still works now.” Little surprise, then, that it has filtered down to more mainstream vintage outlets – Beyond Retro, for example, is always well-stocked with Champion sweatshirts.

The flames of this “less vintage vintage” are also being fanned by the rise of resale sites. According to the ThredUp 2019 resale report, resale has grown 21 times faster than apparel retail in the past three years. These luxury sites offer a glimmer of hope to those seeking a more affordable way to buy into designer fashion.

Not content to sit back and watch others profit from their vintage items, some luxury labels are relaunching decades-old designs from their own archives. Last year, for instance, Dior brought back its saddle bag because of the attention it was getting in the vintage fashion market. In February, Fendi brought back its Carrie Bradshaw-approved baguette bag from 1999 – luxury resale website Vestiaire Collective had seen a 558% increase in sales of the bag since January last year. “Every brand is currently developing a point-of-view on how to coexist with secondhand,” ThredUp cofounder and chief executive James Reinhart recently told the Business of Fashion.

Of course, for some, buying vintage will never feel quite right. “It’s really not my bag,” says Bates. There are obvious pitfalls – sizing isn’t uniform, and, she says: “You have to be so careful to look for holes and moths and rips.”

But being able to call a 90s hoodie, a Dior bag from the 00s, or a dress first worn by Naomi Campbell in 1996 “vintage”, might just help to keep the appeal going. As Bates puts it: “At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter … the most important thing is that it’s recycled – it encourages people not to go out and buy more.”

A little love from the Evening Standard!

Totally delighed to be featured in the Evening Standard’s choice of best online vintage shop! Thanks Evening Standard you’ve always been my favourite too 😉 And here’s the article…

Alongside this boutique’s vintage offering that comprises of bohemian clothing, jewellery, bags and belts, there is also the added option to have your jacket customised, choosing your own style, slogan and effect.

 

See the full article here

 

 

Fast-Fashion: resisting the Temptation to Buy More in a Consumerist Society

Guest post by Ffion Lovelock

I think you will agree when I say that Instagram has certainly changed the world of fashion. It provides somewhat regular but largely followed Instagram users the opportunity to work with brands to promote products to their following and in doing so, has created the role of the influencer. A role that is now completely embedded within our culture and motivating our consumption. This contemporary method of marketing via social media allows influencers and brands to really work their magic to increase our retail purchases. On Instagram for example, you can swipe-up to purchase an item in seconds, come across links to a brand on almost every profile and find exactly where they bought that amazing skirt just at the tap of a finger. However, it is wise to consider if this is only adding to the detrimental consequences that fast-fashion has on our environment?

Browsing the likes of Instagram makes it incredibly hard to not be encouraged to buy more and more, especially when our society is so consumer orientated. Instagram is a digital space where we can be constantly exposed to an endless amount of branded content and we are all guilty of scrolling through its feeds tirelessly, so it is no surprise that we take such an interest in buying so much new clothing when the fashion influencers we follow wear it so well.  It is this temptation that can sometimes convince us that we need the item as much as their sponsored posts say we do.

However, some influencers are using their status to provide awareness of what a difference sustainable fashion can make to our planet. Even Emma Watson had her say through creating the Instagram account, ‘@the_press_tour’, to raise awareness of the designers who are dedicating their time to producing clothing from organic and recycled fabrics. Proving that those with a large number of followers do not only have the power to increase our consumption, but the power to convince us to limit it. They are influences after all, and we do often take on board what they have to say. So, go follow some vintage enthusiasts or an influencer who encourages sustainability and you will be surprised how much your outlook can change. Then through turning your attention towards how you could provide a more sustainable fashion footprint with the industries levels of environmental harm could be lessened.

       

Then why not make an active start by investing that temptation into vintage clothing through considering an independent vintage retailer like The Stellar Boutique, and making that conscious decision to re-wear, re-buy and re-sell?

We are all guilty of buying for the sake of it, I know I certainly am. Whether it be for a one time occasion or just because I thought it looked great on the 6-foot-and-tiny model on the website, we always give in to the prospect of something brand spanking new. Vintage clothing, however, allows you to still add something new to your wardrobe and get that exciting feeling that we all crave when we do make a new purchase, but you are contributing to sourcing that fashion ethically and sustainably. You can still shop to your heart’s content but at least you can be a small part towards solving a much wider matter; that being the fashion industries harmful effects on the environment. Not to mention that vintage clothing can also provide you with something that no one else has – a one of a kind item that people can wow over. Investing in something other than mainstream retail is always hugely beneficial and through learning to love what you have or what is already out there, the threat of irreversible climate change could be put to a halt.

The Stellar Boutique’s latest collection of eco-friendly slogan t-shirts and sweatshirts is another perfect example of how retail can eventually become far more sustainable. Through the use of organic cotton, the entire collection is free from any artificial growing processes and sets an example of how natural textiles can cater to our ever-growing retail consumption without our ecosystem having to suffer. So, whether it be vintage or made from sustained and natural materials, our societies love of fashion and constant desire for more of it could eventually be made less problematic in the future.

Read more from Ffion here Lifeandlovelock.com

 

Vintage shopping Tips & Tricks

Guest post by Hannah Littler Jones

Vintage thrift shopping offers a totally unique shopping experience in comparison to what you encounter in everyday high street stores. The most exciting part is that you just never know what you’re going to find and what will soon become your new favourite go-to piece! Entering a vintage shop is like walking into a treasure trove emporium, you are instantly immersed into a world of fashion history and forgotten gems, each item patiently waiting to be discovered by its new loving owner!

Today, I am offering you some helpful tips and tricks to vintage shopping, hoping it allows you to achieve the most out of your shopping experience.

My first tip is one that some may not naturally hold a trait to, patience. If you’ve never entered a vintage shop before (you’ve really been missing out) the best way I can describe it to you is through the comparison of the ‘sale’ periods. Now, no need to panic, they’re tidier and calmer, so erase that unpleasant image of the Zara Christmas sales. The comparison I’m making is purely down to the vast variation of clothing that can all be placed on one rail, which is where the patience comes in handy. Vintage shopping isn’t a walk in, see it, buy it, job done experience. It requires a little more time and patience to explore and discover the perfect pieces. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, start from the top or bottom; Shoes and accessories are much easier to browse than clothing, so start there to get into the swing of things!

Tip number two, although you never know what you’re going to discover (which is the beauty of vintage shopping) try to keep your styling ideas in mind, and if you don’t have any set, be realistic about your shopping, will I wear it? What can I style it with? With such a diverse selection of clothing, even vaster than your normal high street stores, it can be easy to forget what you were hoping for when entering the shop. If you’re not sure you’re going to wear it consistently, could it be recycled into something new or by someone else?

Tip number three, forgetting gender labels, go check out the opposite sex section. Just because its labelled male/female, doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who are allowed to wear it. You can find some perfect fits from oversized to fitted pieces. So, keep that in mind and broaden your shopping horizons!

Which also leads onto my final tip, sizes. Ignore all size references on tags and labels. From time to time tags can be placed on the incorrect item, but even more worth remembering is that people tended to be smaller back in the day so vintage clothing sizes often come up smaller than they would be today, so don’t panic if you don’t fit into your usual size 10 (it’s not down to that slice of cake you ate the night before) it’s just we’re all bigger now than our 1950s counterparts! If you pick up a piece and the size turns out to be incorrect let your creativity run wild, consider alterations and customising to fit your style.

I hope these tips are helpful and allow you to thrive in your shopping experience. Before you venture off, why not take a look at our vintage clothing in our vintage shop? You never know what you’re going to find.

By Hannah Littler @hannahlittler1

2019 Fashion Trend Report

 guest post by Ffion Lovelock

2019 Fashion Trend Report; the year of empowerment, femininity and exhibiting confidence. It is the year of feeling comfortable in your own skin and wearing adaptable pieces that can cater to every woman. So what pieces exactly are we introducing, or more so, what are we bringing back this year?

Well, 2019 certainly looks like the year of some old favourites returning to our shelves. From prairie dresses to padded shoulders, we are taking things old school as we edge towards a brand new decade. Quite clearly showing that vintage is set to be popular this year, why buy new when it has all been done before? When everyone is shopping in the same sort of stores, you could be wearing a one-of-a-kind piece. Take the boiler suit for example, the return of its utility design can offer both an echo of the 30s working woman that foreshadows the feminine takeover that this year’s fashion trends have forecast, as well as an 80s vintage vibe that reflects a time where women really started to wear whatever the hell they wanted.

Utility (Elle, 2019)

Furthermore, in terms of styles and accessories, Neo-tailoring is set to take off this year for both men and women, with its strong looks being debuted recently on the catwalks by the likes of Balenciaga and Dior. Again, this style echoes classic 90s chic and sophistication. Another reason to seek out your vintage stores this year. On the bag front, we are going for small, cute and totally impractical this year. Oh yes, it’s the mini bag; a style that is more of a street-style statement than of any use to holding things. Still, some of our favourite designers seem to love it and it seems like this year we are all expected to fall in love with them too.

Neo-Tailoring (Elle, 2019)

 

The Mini Bag (Who What Wear, 2019)

When it comes to print’s we are sticking with animal print this year, which shows that the trend really does live on forever and so you are always best to hang on to any past statement pieces since you never know when everyone is going to start rocking snake-print all over again. The catwalks have been showcasing a lot of elegant leopard prints and proving the versatility of the beloved feline design. On top of this, we can expect to say ‘hello’ to some patchwork and some potential punk or preppy looks with coloured tartan as these busy prints are set to grace our high street stores and make for a very visually busy and colourful 2019.

Now to realise just how colourful fashion this year will be, colour schemes and palettes this year are expected to boast beige and lavender tones – a sophisticated palette which oozes confidence and Parisian chic. As both soft colours, we surely can expect something a little more crazy in the year of being bold, right? Well, of course. 80s neon is coming back, and you can expect to see fluorescent oranges, yellows, pinks and greens (basically the usual colours within a highlighter pack) to be widely popular throughout the course of the year. The high-street is already jumping on the bandwagon, the catwalk is labelling it ‘The Prada Effect’ and any clothes you have left over from the ’80s could be put to very good use if you are wanting to express your inner Madonna or Cyndi Lauper.

Neon (Harpers Bazaar, 2019)

Lastly and most importantly, a trend in 2019 that is set to make a change is the ‘Global Citizen’, which takes into consideration our global footprint towards fashion and our behaviour as such frequent consumers of fast-fashion. With a wide focus on vegan materials, ethical fashion and being overall more ‘green’, introducing this ‘Wegoism’ to the fashion industry this year will hopefully be the starting point of a more positive worldwide outlook towards slow fashion.

So why not take a look at The Stellar Boutique for all of your 2019 throwbacks and take notice of how you could be a better ‘Global Citizen’ towards fashion through purchasing some vintage clothing that is returning to our stores this year. Let’s empower people to make a difference and to feel super confident, glam and on-trend in doing so.

By Ffion Lovelock @ffilovelock

Read more from Ffion on her blog – Life and Lovelock

Vintage BTS with The Stellar Boutique

Vintage BTS; Here at The Stellar Boutique, we love to keep you, our customers, in the loop. Therefore, today we are offering you an exclusive sneak preview into a selection of the new vintage pieces that will be appearing on The Stellar Boutique website in the near future.

Vintage clothing is one of the most important aspects the fashion industry, the unknown journey a piece has been through, the history it may or may not hold, let alone the environmental positivity’s they bring.

We hope you enjoy these previews just as much as we enjoyed the shoot. These shoots not only give us an opportunity to display our new collections to you but a way to let loose and experiment with styles.

Keep an eye out for the latest vintage pieces launching soon to The Stellar Boutique. In the meantime, why not check out our current vintage pieces or ‘Blame it on the moon’ our new eco fashion collection.

 

 

 

 

Spring vintage 2018

Hey guys! We’re all looking forward to the summer here at The Stellar Boutique. We’ve got some great new vintage transitional pieces for you all in this changeable weather. For those times when you might need to throw on a jumper and those exciting times when you’re looking for festival wear. Planning on going to Glastonbury? We got you covered!

On our radar and new in the shop are great pieces such as this 70s vintage loop knit cardigan – throw it on over a rock n roll t-shirt and you’re good to go. Relive the 90s and be right on trend in our vintage lilac shell suit jacket. Embrace the Kate Moss look in our oversized boyfriend sweatshirt – it looks great with chunky boots. Howl at the moon with our beautiful 90s vintage wolf sweatshirt. Have you come over all Jackie Brown? Get your hands on our 70s vintage suede waistcoat with panelling and pockets. Wear our funky vintage knitted silver stripe gilet with shoulder lapels layered over pretty much anything and you’ll be the belle of the festival. Wear our cute 80s vintage cropped blouse with jeans or an 80s a-line skirt and dance into the night. If print is your thing, take a look at the 70s vintage scallop knit jumper. We love a good slogan here at The Stellar Boutique. If you do too, take a look at our 90s vintage ‘team purebred’ sweatshirt. And last but definitely not least, this 90s vintage Burberry-style corduroy bomber jacket.

This is an exciting time for us and there’s a lot more vintage clothing to come!