I reside in the glorious county of Derbyshire for which Derby is my nearest city. It is true to say that I am surrounded by natural beauty, fresh country air and wonderful scenery. This is all delightful but I yearn for a little more vintage culture in my city. There are no more remaining dedicated vintage shops to my knowledge in Derby and many of the vintage shops in nearby Nottingham have closed in recent years, including a favourite of mine, Vintage to a Tea.
Luckily I happen to travel to London on occasions and so I know of a few fantastic vintage haunts, including Scarlet Rage Vintage (SRV). Based in Crouch End, it is a stone’s throw from the centre of London and is easily accessible by public transport. Located on Crouch End’s bustling and vibrant high street, SRV is one of a few shops I refer to as ‘vintage mecca’. After being mesmerised by the colourful and decadent window displays (which are always based on a theme or season), visitors can enjoy the wonderfully colour-coordinated rails of true vintage garments, mainly ranging from 1920s to the 1950s with the occasional 1960s and pre-1920s pieces. All body shapes and sizes are accommodated for and there are plenty of accessories for those with more of a lust for lucite than a craving for couture.
There are numerous reasons why I adore SRV, not only because the owner Jade is as vibrant as her vintage pieces but that the shop floor is wonderfully presented, with each piece given its own space to shine rather than being crammed in tighter than bodies on the underground in rush hour. I also appreciate the time Jade and her staff spend in creating a welcoming and fun shopping experience where visitors are encouraged to try on the latest finds and explore new styles and eras.
So how did SRV come to be? I for one am always interested to learn how our beloved vintage sellers have metamorphosed into their roles and Jade’s story is one of heritage and hard work. Her Mother paved the way by trading in vintage at Camden Market in the 1970s, resulting in Jade developing an appreciation of items from a bygone era from an early age. After occupying a small space in Alfies Antique Market, Jade’s parents’ business expanded rapidly, resulting in them establishing their own antique furniture business named ‘Chameleon’ located on the infamous Church Street in Marylebone. This business proved to be so successful that they were key suppliers of props for Harrods, Ralph Lauren and Victoria’s Secret to name but a few clients. As for Jade herself, she set up Scarlet Rage Vintage in her University bar during the first year of a fashion promotion degree. As she graduated, she worked as a Fashion Editor for a magazine whilst still developing and expanding the SRV enterprise. As the youngest dealer at aged 19 to regularly hold a stall at the prestigious P&A fairs across London, Jade’s business grew exponentially and catapulted her from occasional trader to full time vintage dealer. Her clientele expanded such that she was able to leave the world of fashion editing to follow her true passion and set up the bricks and mortar shop that we know and love today. With pieces that have featured on Downton Abbey, film sets and even the red carpet, Jade has a talent for sourcing the most sacred vintage pieces and has shown that hard graft and tenacity pays off in full.
As a vintage aficionado with a penchant for the 1940s, I have bought numerous outfits from SRV, largely because Jade and her team know exactly what I like and can generally find something I may be searching for (one such example I recall follows a brief discussion about Fred A Block studded 1940s suits and how much I desired to own my own studded suit, only for Jade to find one several months later IN MY SIZE with not only a studded jacket but a studded skirt as well, which duly earned her extra brownie points). If you are unable to make it to ‘the big smoke’ then don’t panic, you don’t have to brave the bustling streets of London to get your very own piece of Scarlet Rage goodness, for there is always the power of the internet, including the shop website (www.scarletregevintage.com), the weekly Vlog (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJy8HXnYv-drTfX3QVgyVKg), Facebook (facebook.com/ScarletRageVintage ), Twitter (@ScarletRage_VTG) and Instagram (@scarletragevintage) pages to peruse. On the latter, the team usually post 2 or 3 different outfits per day so there is plenty to swoon over and something to tickle all fancies. Victoria, the teams’ photographer utilises the shops’ bright lights and snazzy articulated mannequin to showcase each piece in a natural pose so as a buyer, you get a good idea as to how they will contour the body.
With the pressure of maintaining steady business in an e-commerce driven world, brick and mortar vintage shops are becoming as rare as the merchandise within them. It is clearly evident that Jade and her team have invested blood, sweat and probably a few tears to create a wonderfully inviting, welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere so I implore you to pay a visit. If you do manage to call in, you may even be lucky enough to meet Elmo and Mr Frank, Jade’s gorgeously funny and friendly dogs who act as Chief ‘Meet and Greeters’ from time to time, now that really is worth a visit isn’t it?!
Here are some of my favourites that are currently available in the store right now:
1. Chartreuse 1940s studded day dress £148 – anyone who knows me knows how much I love chartreuse and studs. Together. This beautiful dress features a simply stunning twist knot style detail on the neckline along with studded detail. It also as a beautiful detail on the waistline to give added interest and structure.
Maker: No Label
Bust: Upto 36″
Hips: Upto 44″
Link to item: http://scarletragevintage.com/shop/product/2749
2. Gorgeous 1940’s Cream & Yellow Check Suit £158.00 – This is a gorgeous 1940’s cream, yellow and grey check skirt suit. This skirt suit comes with it’s matching belt which when worn tight can give a great little peplum at the back. This epitomises the tailoring of the era and the lucky buyer can recreate true Agent Carter vibes!
Maker: No label
Material: Gaberdine feeling
Jacket Bust: Upto 39″
Shoulder to shoulder: 15″
Jacket Length: 26.5″
Skirt Waist: 24″ to 24.5″ tight
Skirt Hips: 37.5″
Skirt Length: 29″
3. 1940’s Royal Hawaiian Pake Mu Dress £298.00 – There are Pake Mu’s and there are PAKE MU’s. This is definitely the latter, I adore it! It’s a fantastic example of an original 1940’s Pake Mu dress by Royal Hawaiian. The dress is made from a super soft rayon. The fabric has a gorgeous tropical print in vivid greens and purple. The dress has the classic angel sleeves and mandarin collar you would expect of this style. I don’t own a pake mu yet but I may have to add this one to my wardrobe….
Maker: the label reads: Royal Hawaiian
Waist : upto 33″
Hips: upto 40″
Material: soft rayon blend, cotton feel
4. 1950’s Salmon Pink Swagger Jacket £149.00 – Now I know 1950s isn’t really my era but there is a lot to love about this jacket! It’s a wonderful shade of salmon pink in a gorgeous felted wool style material. This jacket has beautiful pearlised style buttons down the front and diamante and pearl diamond style detail on it’s collars. This jacket is fully lined and has two pockets on the front. And just look at that swooping stitching detail across the back and shoulders, swoon!
Maker: No Label
Material: Mohair feeling
Bust: Upto 42″
Shoulder to shoulder: Approx 16″
Link to item: http://scarletragevintage.com/shop/product/2744
5. 1950s Rare Box Lucite Handbag £178.00 – If you think SRV only stocks clothing then you are wrong, there are oodles of accessories to make complete outfits! This is a fabulous box bag made of lucite. It is an octagonal shape, giving it a rare and interesting look. It features an inner mirror and fastens with a lockable clasp. This personally fulfils all of the gothic vintage vibes I could ever ask for, that colour is deep, rich and very unusual!
Maker: No label
Handle Height: 4″
Photos credited to Victoria Chetley at SRV