From Levi’s to Hilfiger to Ralph Lauren, the JQBID spoke to owner of The Vintage Shirt Co, Luke Axten, about sustainability, vintage fashion culture and life after uni.
With an array of designer vintage shirts to sift through, The Vintage Shirt Co on Spencer Street in the Jewellery Quarter, is an exciting prospect for those with a love of sustainable fashion. Originally run as a shop on popular app Depop, Luke Axten decided to open the store, tucked away at 58 Spencer Street, a short walk from the Chamberlain clock. But why did Luke want to start this journey? JQBID finds out more.
“I’ve always been interested in fashion and with the emergence of online and app based platforms such as eBay and Depop, turning a passion into a business was relatively straight forward. While studying at university I used my spare time building @thevintagecollective (my Depop shop!) and it steadily grew to the point that I could turn it full time,” Luke said.
The physical interaction with customers is something Luke missed out on when just running his business online. This spurred him on to open the store.
“Working online only, I missed the interaction of customers and I’ve always wanted a physical shop so when the opportunity presented itself in The Jewellery Quarter it was one I jumped at.”
Birmingham city centre boasts a number of independent vintage clothing stores. But what makes The Vintage Shirt Co so special?
“Our goal is to change the perception on vintage and our main focus is on sustainability. We’re achieving this already by reselling perfectly good shirts at prices below even that of fast fashion. That’s right – you can get an as-new vintage designer branded shirt for less than something cheaply and mass produced for the high street. Our prices start from just £10!”
A focus on ethics and environmentalism, plus affordability, gives a unique selling point to Luke’s business.
“The perception of vintage (as some of you may have encountered in the past) is that it can sometimes be unwashed, smelly, and in bad condition. Not at The Vintage Shirt Co! All of our shirts are visually inspected, washed / steamed and prepared for sale, meaning while they may be vintage, they’re all as new! Come and see for yourself!”
It is evident that The Vintage Shirt Co has a lot going for it and, concealed in a charming nook within the Jewellery Quarter, the appeal is plain to see. We asked Luke when the shop is open and what a day-in-the-life is like for him.
“On the face of it, we sell shirts! And other vintage items via our website www.thevintageshirtco.co.uk (launching soon) and our Depop store. But behind the scenes there’s a lot of work involved. Our shop opens Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-6 so on our off days we travel the country sourcing the latest and greatest vintage pieces, keep up on trends, prep and photograph our items for our online stores and a whole host of other things!”
Even if you can’t visit the shop right now, it is easy to follow the company on social media until you can and browse through a wide variety of their stock.
“Every day is different. We’re currently planning a photo shoot around The Jewellery Quarter so keep a look out for that! The images will be posted on our Instagram @thevintageshirtco.”
Be sure to keep an eye out for this gem of a shop when you visit Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter! And be sure to say hi to Luke!