Many people, myself included, are guilty of buying garment after garment from high street stores at bargain prices. You know as well as I do, they’ll be worn a handful of times before we throw them away. The difference with slow fashion is that we fill our wardrobes with good quality; long lasting pieces that can, and should, be worn again and again.
This is where Keystone Vintage comes in, and the man behind it all, Jonathan Phillips. Born and bred in Doncaster, this full-time, loving father puts all the time not spent with his boy, into his vintage. “I originally got in to vintage and antiques about 15 years ago. I’ve always liked old cars and bikes, I like the idea of restoration and upcycling.”
Jonathan worked at a pet retailer, before taking a fateful trip to LA in 2016. Here’s where it hit him – he couldn’t go back to a job he didn’t love. “I decided if I’m going to put effort in to my work every day, I would be better off doing it on my own terms.” The switch to vintage was a no-brainer, he was already helping his housemate source their love of vintage clothing – selling bits was a hobby. 2017 saw Jonathan turn that hobby into a career – giving him the sense of accomplishment he craved.
One of the biggest draws of buying vintage, not only from a style point of view, is that the quality is much better than anything you can find today. These garments were intended as hand-me-downs, so they had to last generations. Whereas the current expanding market and growing competition faced by the fast fashion industry, causes retailers to cut corners and use countries that provide cheaper labour, lowering the overall quality.
What’s really amazing about Keystone is Jonathan’s breadth of knowledge on the subject. He quite humbly says this is simply down to research and a good memory, but seriously, this guy can tell you all there is to know. He strongly believes there is an importance in knowing where your items come from, as well as how and why they were made in the first place. “A sheep’s wool jumper is nice, but an alpaca wool jumper is worth 3-4 times more due to the hypoallergenic, warmer, non-itchy wool.”
Keystone sells most styles of vintage; they have suppliers all over the world from here in the UK to Thailand and California. Specialising in western wear and USA styles – Keystone stocks everything from US military to cowboy boots (and man are cowboy boots making a comeback right now). They also sell a lot of kids vintage – Jonathan’s own son being a major fan. With access to a lot of top brand clothing – expect amazing quality, long-wear garments.
As vintage can not exactly be trend led, Jonathan follows a lot of buyer trends on eBay and Etsy. “Vintage lovers tend to want something unique – different to the high street.”
Slow fashion and shopping mindfully may not be the answer to our woes, but it can definitely help in terms of environment. It creates less waste than fast fashion does.
Clothing manufacturing is harmful in general. Cotton growing is an industry that has caused much deforestation. Copious waste comes from dyes and chemicals used in making cloth and other synthetic materials. And the leather trade contributes to further deforestation, to make room for livestock.
Jonathan notes that even: “Vegan options defeat the purpose – the chemical wastes from those processes are just as bad as the mass production of real leathers. Man-made materials decompose incredibly slowly – if at all. So instead of killing the cow directly, waterways are poisoned, killing fish and in some cases crops. Companies are attempting to make fully organic, biodegradable clothing materials, but until that becomes an option we really do have to be mindful of what we buy.”
Jonathan has recently started a new venture – the Doncaster Clothing Exchange. The idea behind this is that everyone has clothing in their wardrobes that they love, but no longer wear. It might have sentimental value or cost a lot, so the thought of letting it go for free or to a 50p kilo store means most people would rather keep hold of it. This is where Jonathan comes in, he can use his knowledge of all things vintage to take the hassle of listing and posting your items off your hands – all for a small fee.
“A friend of mine was going to take her sons old clothing to a 50p kilo store. They were things like Timberland and Replay jeans and Adidas track tops. The total weight of the clothing was around 8 kilos, so she would have received £4. I suggested selling them for her instead, at a reasonable price so they sold quickly, and she is so far £140 better off.”
With the help of Jonathan and Keystone Vintage, why not join the slow fashion revolution? Whether you want to get yourself a capsule wardrobe of amazing quality, one off pieces (I’m definitely eyeing up some cowboy boots) – or unlock the value in your existing unused garms, Coopers Terrace is the place to go.
10 Coopers Terrace, Doncaster, DN1 2PX
Photographs of Michael Jordan Donnelly by Warren Draper
Photographs of Emma Jade Garbutt by John Fuller
This post is sponsored by Doncopolitan.