Talking To True Vintage

True Vintage is the UK’s leading online vintage retailer founded by Rory Westbrook. Despite an incredibly competitive buy-and sell-market, and a 90s style revival touching every corner of the fashion industry, True Vintage have managed to stand out and catalyse on this booming market. This is down to their carefully curated product, made up of some of the most desired brands on the vintage circuit.

True Vintage’s success is evident from their 162,000 strong Instagram followers, as well as recognition from big industry names such as Vogue and Tommy Hilfiger. With a landmark pop-up in Urban Outfitters in Manchester last week, I went down to meet Guy Westbrook to learn more about the buzz around True Vintage, where they’ve come from and what’s next.

The True Vintage pop-up was well stocked with the likes of Polo Sport, Fila, Burberry, and Tommy Hilfiger. Yet True Vintage hasn’t always been as established as it is today. Rather, the brand started from more humble beginnings. Guy tells me “True Vintage was started by my brother, Rory, 4 years ago, at Portsmouth University, just as a way of earning money. He realised there was a demand for vintage clothing, as it gives people a chance to be different. He started that up just as a personal project really.”

What is so great about True Vintage is that they wholly understand their customer. It makes sense when I learn that the company is still ran by a very close circle of friends who began packing orders in Rory’s university house, and who share the same love for fashion.

“I was then the 2nd person to start working with him,” Guy told me. “I would travel down to Portsmouth from Guildford where I had been doing various fashion internships which were all a bit all over the place, and then Rory was just like ‘come down and work with me!’ So I helped him whilst he was still at uni, and then it just got bigger and bigger until we moved back up to London and we’ve grown so that we’re up to 9 people now. It’s a great team as we’ve all got different skills and talents so we’ve all been learning as we go along and has been going well so far and is just really exciting!”

Yet it’s clear that that the close-knit bunch haven’t remained in their comfort zone, and have greatly expanded from being just a uni brand trading through Instagram, gaining an array of amazing achievements under their belt. “Probably the biggest project we have done would be Tommy Hilfiger at London Fashion Week which was last year, the same year with Gigi Hadid’s collection. We were at the Camden Roundhouse selling vintage Tommy. He even bought stuff off us himself! We’ve done loads more projects with Tommy Hilfiger like the event with Lewis Hamilton where he released his collection at the Oxford Street store, they’ve been really great.”

The stock even impressed industry experts — True Vintage have write-ups in Vogue and has been recognised by the brands themselves: “We had a head design team from Adidas come over, who said we have the best collection of vintage Adidas they’ve seen – even better than their own official archives! They really wanted to buy stuff off us but we had to say no, we want to keep that!”

In such a competitive market for buying and selling clothes, especially amongst students, it is a real a testament to True Vintage’s stock that the brand continues to expand. Guy tells me that “sourcing is just down to connections we’ve made over the years, now we’re even at the stage where big collectors are even coming to us. We have a supply chain of about 15-20 suppliers globally who we work with daily to ensure we only source the best stuff for our customers. But as you grow, it means you get to speak to people and meet new people you never thought possible so that’s definitely helped us along the way.”

After such a successful year, it’s interesting to hear what True Vintage have next up their sleeve. Guy shares with me that they definitely want more collaborations with brands. Furthermore, he adds that “it’s nice when you have pop-up events like these so we can go out and meet people to speak to the people who buy from your brand, that’s the only drawback of online as its more anonymous. And therefore we are looking for more pop-ups and events. We also would love to do some more consulting work with brands as we all really love fashion and clothes, you can see recently on the high street that everything is taking a vintage revival, so I think that we have a lot to offer. We might even look to design our own stuff, who knows!”

Whatever in store for the team at True Vintage, it’s apparent their growth won’t be stunted any time soon.

Tags: 90s, Burberry, fila, kappa, Manchester, pop up, Rory Westbrook, Thifting, Tommy Hilfiger, True Vintage, Urban Outfitters, Vintage

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