Vintage clothes have a story to tell – of the lives of the people for whom they were made, and the way they lived. Careful hand stitches are a visible marker to the person who sat and meticulously sewed them, and the worn areas that have been patched up over time so that the piece may live on in the life of the next wearer.
I still get that familiar tingle of excitement when I discover a beautiful piece of vintage clothing.
I have been collecting vintage clothing for almost 30 years now. I think my fascination with clothes and fashion began when I was around 14 years old, and stumbled upon an intricately embroidered ladies Victorian jacket hanging in my local antiques shop in Yarm.
From this moment, I always wanted to understand how a piece of clothing had been put together, so I would seek out vintage clothes because their construction and finish was always so immaculate. When I came across a jacket that was too damaged by age, and past wear, I would carefully take it apart to see how it was constructed. From that point it seemed logical to trace off pattern pieces and re-create the shape and cut of the jacket myself. This voyage of vintage discovery became my introduction to my future as a fashion designer.
Fast-forward to when I worked as a designer for Maxmara, a brand most famous for it’s luxury coats, I was able to unleash all my creativity in a place where designing timeless silhouettes alongside exceptional craftsmanship have gone hand in hand since the company’s inception in 1951.
It was a 1950's Maxmara wool cape that inspired my first ever design for the Jackie Maguire collection, the Cape Sleeve Coat, which has become a perennial favourite of my wonderful customers, and has been bought by customers all the way from the UK to Japan and Australia.
A particular vintage piece of clothing will often be the starting point for a new design. It might be the silhouette that inspires me, a particular seam placement, or a flattering cut that informs a new design. When it comes to the silhouette of a new style, perhaps a beautiful princess seam placement on a dress, I will then adapt the fit and sizing to work for the modern day.
One of my favourite local haunts for beautiful quality vintage is Willow Hilson Vintage Boutique in Cheltenham, which is a gem of a vintage shop, displaying unique treasures dating from the 1920's to the 1960's.
And so, today, as I design collections in my studio, that strong connection to heritage, history and vintage inspired for modern day informs the authenticity of every single piece of clothing that I design from first sketch through to finished garment.
Maybe I have inspired you to take a closer look at vintage clothes, or perhaps to start your own collection? If you would like to discover more about Jackie Maguire, you can view the current collection at JACKIE MAGUIRE - Luxury Clothing | Made in England