Nothing is ever old. PPre l-lovoveded ffasashihionon merely waits until people find new ways to love it again. Two stores that specialise in vintage show us what’s “Carousell” and what has cachet.
Ace Tan collects vintage ware. She’s wearing an ’80s Givenchy suit ($599) and ’40s made-inthe-Soviet Union goggles ($199). Both are sold at Oldsowhat.
Limitedto-Japan ’80s Chanel two-way wool clutch, $4,606. World War II military cap, $199. A ’90s Gianni Versace boxy shoulder bag, $5,083.
Clockwise from top: an ’80s Gucci two-way bag, $999. An ’80s Celine twoway clutch, $899. A ’90s Christian Dior clutch, $2,064.
Hermes leather and toile Kelly, $9,690. Manolo Blahnik laceups, $699. Both are from the ’70s.
WWW.ETSY.COM/SHOP/ OLDSOWHAT FOR VINTAGE FROM THE VICTORIAN ERA TO THE ’90S.
This online store, which started two years ago, is something of an anomaly in the vast craft and curio chambers of Etsy. It’s a rare, locally based business where clothing dating back to the Victorian era is listed alongside ’60s Christian Dior lace-up leather gloves, ’80s Givenchy jewel-tone skirt suits, and ’60s to ’90s Chanel, Hermes and Celine leather goods. It even has Russian pilot goggles from WWII.
The site’s founder, Ace Tan, 43 (“Madam Old” to her customers) has been growing her collection for more than 20 years. But the reason why she adores all kinds of vintage designer fashion and brands has evolved.
When she started, her day job in TV commercial production allowed her to spend stretches of time in France, Japan and Spain, where she frequently visited ﬂ ea markets for “unwanted off -season clothing and accessories”. These are now treasured and considered vintage, and she has come to love them for their originality and superb workmanship.
Through her experience, Tan is able to recognise brands and designers without checking tags. “Brands change creative directors very frequently these days, but their styles were very distinct in the past, especially those like Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier.”
She can also easily tell if an item is authentic just by touch – like a vintage whisperer. For pricier pieces, though, such as from Hermes, she consults a recognised online authenticator like Carol Diva to be doubly sure.
Her collection numbers more than 800 pieces and is still growing – her relationship with overseas store owners ensures that the best stuff is set aside for her. Clockwise from top: an ’80s Gucci two-way bag, $999. An ’80s Celine twoway clutch, $899. A ’90s Christian Dior clutch, $2,064.
To keep them in the best condition, clothes are always folded, stacked with a layer of tissue paper between the pieces, and kept in storage boxes, never in plastic. Bags are sunned occasionally, wiped with a 100 per cent cotton cloth, and always stuffed with tissue to maintain their shape.
Every purchase from Oldsowhat comes with a 14-day no-questionsasked refund policy and a care card for maintenance. Prices range from $89 for a skirt to $15,887 for an Hermes Kelly.
Go to our digital edition for what to look out for in designer vintage, and how to update it.
PHOTOGRAPHY FRENCHESCAR LIM STYLING BRYAN GOH LOCATION POMELO HOME HAIR & MAKEUP ANGEL GWEE, USING CHANEL & KEVIN.MURPHY
They have a life. That’s why Death Threads only opens once a month. From left: Dizon is in the contracting business; Tan and Lee are uni students; and Phua is one quarter of local creative studio Tell Your Children.
FOR PRE-LOVED ’80S’90S STREET- AND POP-CULTURE WEAR.
Think of it as something rather like a speakeasy: It’s difficult to ﬁnd, only opens once a month (announced on Instagram @deaththreadsvtg), and when you do ﬁnd it, there’s often a long, snaking queue. But the hunt, and quenching that vintage thirst, are part of the thrill. Carousell this is not.
Oddly enough, three of the stores’ four founders did meet on Carousell while vintage hunting. Deon Phua, 26, ﬁrst met Edmund Tan, 20, and the pair roped in Paul Dizon, 35, also via the site, for the venture. Joshua Lee, 25, joined after visiting Death Threads’ ﬁrst few editions with his supply of vintage band merchandise.
The store’s curation is the pride of the team: On top of the usual ’80s-’90s sportswear and streetwear from brands like Nike, Champion, Tommy Hilﬁger and Bape, Death Threads also stocks many pieces that run the gamut of popular culture, from movies to TV shows to cult bands. “We bring in what we love, and hope to spread this appreciation to Singaporeans,” says Lee.
New goods are sourced from local and overseas contacts, and sometimes through thrifting trips. Examining the tags, Lee says, is key to verifying the authenticity of the goods. “The design of the brand logo as well as where the garment was made are good gauges of which era the item is from. Stitching plays a big role, too. You deﬁnitely need to know your stuff because you’ll come across lots of fakes that are really close to the originals.”
Death Threads: #04-06 Kapo Factory Block A, 80 Playfair Road. It opens from noon to 6pm, one weekend a month. Follow on Instagram @deaththreadsvtg for updates.
For the back stories of Death Threads’ vintage wear, go to our digital edition.
Tees are generally $25-$75 each, although rare and original band or anime ones can fetch more than $100 each; caps are $20-$70 each; sneakers, $80-$150; outerwear starts from $35; and bags are $40-$80 a pop.