By Kate Rossini and Laura Chapman
We took a trip to Bristol to talk to Linda Bennett, owner of vintage brand; Bristol Saint. Linda sells in Trylla shop, located in Bedminster. The shop stocks small creatives work, providing an inspiring browse full of unique pieces. Linda also sells her vintage finds on asos marketplace.
Clothes are something Linda has always been passionate about “I think I’ve always had an interest in old clothing. And my mum was really into old movies like singing in the rain and all those kind of musicals” this is what kick started Lindas creativity and interest in the vintage scene. “I would kind of sketch out these old outfits, which my art teacher pulled me aside and was like ‘oh, I really like that!’.”
Linda comes from a fashion background as she explained she studied fashion promotion and illustration at university. She originally chose to do the illustration pathway; “after I graduated and had my son I tried to make it as an Illustrator but it was actually quite lonely, and a lot harder than I thought it was going to be”
Bristol Saint was born from coincidence and chance; “I was out in the charity shops and came across a 1950s yellow bathing suit and I think it was being sold for around £3 and I thought, someone online is definitely going to pay quite a bit of money for this, I’m going to snap that up and see what happens”. Before she knew it, Linda was picking up things here and there and started building a collection of stock. The brand has grown from there, allowing Linda to gain backing from the Princes Trust to grow her business.
Vintage and second hand clothing sales have sky rocketed as of recently so we asked Linda if platforms such as Depop and Vinted make it harder or easier to sell her clothes due to an increase in competitors. She responded explaining that the fashion industry is so big that everyone has their own different styles. “I used to go and pick stock with a friend who runs her own vintage company and we’d never go for the same stuff. It wasn’t competitive at all”.
Relating back to the point of vintage and second hand clothing becoming increasingly popular we asked Linda why she thinks that could be and a number of factors were brought up…
“A couple of things have happened in the past 10 years, like the disaster at Rana Plaza in 2013, which I think opened a lot of peoples eyes to what is actually going on in the fashion industry and what is involved in production.”
Linda goes onto explain that there’s a growing awareness occurring in regards to the harmful things that can happen when big businesses produce garments for cheap. Furthermore, the boom of social media has made apps like Depop, Vinted and eBay possible for people to sell second hand clothing at a more accessible and affordable level.
We moved onto the topic of the pandemic, and how the pandemic changed the views of peoples shopping habits. Linda explained; “I think peoples views on fast fashion had become quite polarised. I think people have gone to one side where they want to feel good about themselves, because things are uncertain and scary. They want to feel comfortable.”
Following on with how lounge wear has become extremely popular and the other end of the spectrum, you have people who think about their shopping habits; “ You’ve had people who have had time during the pandemic to reset and kind of look at things and reevaluate how they spend their money and think, actually, do I want to contribute to fast fashion?.”
Pause your read, grab a cup of tea and watch the video below. We chatted to Linda about all things slow fashion, vintage revival and future trends.
Linda shared some insight on what to look out for when deciding what’s a good vintage piece or not. “ a good vintage piece is something in good condition that is wearable, but at the same time you can come across these treasures, where they are so whacky and wild, that it just makes a really cool piece”. Linda continued to say how what she might consider a good vintage piece might not necessarily be a good vintage piece to someone else.
Linda can tell if something is truly vintage from experience. Her mum would have bags of clothes from the 80s that she would bring down from their loft and the story they held would always be a good story. “The clothes never change but there was a story behind every piece that she had”.
She follows on to say how “having the experience with that and becoming familiar with the fabrics , you just kinda learn to look at labels and text. What type of zip is it fastened with? What does the wash label say? What kind of stitching has been used?” Linda explains it as a “little investigation” every time a new piece is found you want to find something out about it.
Y2K is such a huge trend right now we wanted to know from someone in the vintage business will it stay around for a while? Linda shared with us that she does think it’s just another trend at the moment. “Fashion goes in cycles and because of the internet and social media the cycles are becoming shorter and shorter, things are coming around much faster”
She’s intrigued to see what the next trend will be as are we.
You can find out more about Linda on her instagram: @bristolstvintage
Or you can follow the shop: @tryllashop