I thought I’d focus on the latest store to open up in town – it’s in Hockley, and is less than six months old.
Thrift Store is run by sisters Felicity and Johanna; Johanna’s final year project was about vintage stores, and when she completed her studies in fashion in June 2012 the sisters decided to go for it themselves. They had both returned home to Nottingham after uni, and decided to open up here because, although small, ‘it still has a vibe to it’. They saw Hockley take a hit during the recession, but love the area and ‘want to be part of that rise’.
The interior of the shop is striking with a strong DIY aesthetic. They ‘wanted a really industrial feel’, looking for inspiration from places like San Francisco, Brooklyn and Berlin. The clothes are arranged neatly and sparingly, so it’s easy to spot a piece you like from across the room. ‘Instead of having rails and rails of clothing, we wanted things to look “specially selected”’ – they hand-pick everything themselves and give it a name.
Felicity and Johanna are inspired by movements and music – they do keep an eye on Fashion Week and current trends on the high street, but prefer to explore subgenres within eras, looking at the music, location and history that creates a certain look and feel.
The lower floor is dedicated to denim; jackets, dungarees and more unusual items such as button-down dresses and skirts. On one of their regular research trips, they admired a similar area in Selfridges – and then the ‘runaway train or mine feel’ to the basement naturally lent itself to the feel of denim, a worker’s material originally. There’s a bath in the corner – a nod to Levi Strauss Jeans, whose stores also fascinated them.
Thrift Store (the whole concept) is clearly the result of creativity, hard work and good business sense. The decor and publicity (they even put on their own fashion shoots involving friends as well as professionals) matches the carefully chosen, individual and high-quality things they sell, and they have also curated a distinctive online presence. Both really wanted ‘to show that vintage can still be really fashionable and have that edge to it’. Their brand is fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and they ‘want everyone to feel the same’.
Notts has always had a vintage/retro edge for the sisters – places like Wilde Clothing, Baklash and Daphne’s Handbag have been around since before they were born. They see customers of all ages and have observed a preference for independent stores (rather than an aversion to new clothing) amongst their regulars.
Both agreed that they themselves are interested in independent retail above all. They sell items from independent designers – hats, jumpers and jewellery – and in the future would like to have more of a mix of independent and second-hand. Thrift Store is without a doubt a great addition to Hockley’s thriving independent scene, and well worth exploring.