A vintage e-tailer on how to buy and wear vintage (even if it’s not a big ticket designer)
Oh, this? It’s vintage.
It’s been only a few months since Jaimi Krost started her online vintage store,The Sleeveless Society, but the idea was years in the making. Following a stint in New York as a buyer for one of the city’s best designer consignment stores, Krost realised the pre-loved market was comparatively untapped in Australia, especially online. Taking matters into her own hands, she returned to her hometown of Sydney to open her own online store for hard-to-come-by vintage. Here, she tells Vogueabout becoming a business owner, her biggest buying regrets and why beautiful vintage doesn’t always need a designer label.
What inspired you to start your business?
“I’ve always had a passion and love for vintage. Turing that passion into a business was an obvious decision that I realised through dabbling in many different areas of the fashion industry. I’m grateful to have experienced different avenues as it led me to realise not only what I wanted to do but more so what I didn’t want to do. Owning my own business and having complete creative control in an area I’m so passionate about has been an exciting and exhilarating venture so far.”
Where did the name ‘The Sleeveless Society’ come from?
“I wish I had a cool backstory for the name. Truthfully it came about from a lot of brainstorming and procrastinating. I had a few frontrunners but in the end I went with my gut and chose a name I could imagine growing as my brand. I liked that the word ‘Society’ created a feeling of community. There is an ongoing joke with friends and family in regards to selling only sleeveless clothing. I definitely wasn’t being so literal in my thinking when I came up with the name.”
Where do you source your vintage?
“I source from all over the world, locally and internationally. Most of my current stock I found on a buying trip to New York and Los Angeles, taken soon after deciding to start the business. I source through dealers, wholesalers, flea markets and thrift stores. I also take product on consignment, and have recently introduced a hiring service, where you can hire a piece for a percentage of its selling price.”
What qualities do you look for in vintage?
“When sourcing vintage I look for pieces with a point of difference. Items that stand out and support individuality. Pieces I feel will add to someone’s wardrobe, and complement their personal style. Cut, finish and detail are three important qualities I consider when buying. I ensure all my products represent these things, as well as quality and wearability. I love finding designer vintage, but stumbling across a well-made garment with no label is as exciting to me.”
Do you buy according to what speaks to you?
“Subconsciously, I buy according to my taste and style, and what speaks to me. I don’t necessarily buy for myself, but my personal style is definitely represented. Everything I choose to sell needs to embody a specific level of taste. I have based my business on ‘modern’ vintage. I make sure to keep an eye on current trends and try to source pieces that will fit in with what women want to wear today.”
What is an instant deal-breaker when buying vintage?
“Garment quality is very important. I have passed on many amazing pieces because they were unsalvageable. I have a selection of items collected over time that I archive in my personal collection, but would never consider selling them. I want to be trusted and known for selling high quality products. In saying that, vintage for the most part is pre-owned and obviously has already had a long life before reaching its next home, so this needs to be taken into consideration. If I consider a piece worthy of repair I will definitely do so. Having a sewing background has definitely proven to be a huge plus.”
What should we keep in mind when shopping for vintage especially online?
“Shopping for vintage is very personal. You are buying something that ultimately is going to set you apart, that no one else has and is totally unique to you. When buying vintage for myself I look for impeccable fit and shape. If you find a piece that fits you well, it can last you season after season,. When shopping online make sure to take note of the size, fabric, and care details. We show all clothing on the body, displaying its true fit, shape and style. We also include a description of its condition.”
What are your tips for wearing vintage in a modern way?
“For most people considering vintage I would suggest keeping it simple. Incorporate a statement vintage item or two into your look.”
Are there any vintage items you regret not purchasing?
“Absolutely. I have a long list. I spent a day deciding on a lizard skin Chanel handbag. When I went back to the store first thing the next morning it had sold online overnight. A few years ago, I walked away from an amazing red Valentino skirt in Los Angeles because it was the start of my trip and I wasn’t sure what I would find. It was a good lesson. Something better is most likely not going to be waiting for you around the corner.”
What is your vintage fashion motto?
“If you are lucky enough to find it, and love it, BUY IT. Another which we have printed on a postcard that is sent out with every online order is ‘People will stare. Make it worth their while’ which is a quote from Harry Winston.
If you could own any piece of vintage in the world, what would it be?
“I’m still searching for that perfect vintage Chanel handbag.”