I am Clemmie Myers 30 and I live in London. I describe myself as The Vintage Detective – but that loosly describes what I do which is source fabulous one off vintage pieces and unusual statement garments from around the world for people who have an individual sense of style and want something a bit different in their wardrobe.
Why did you decide to sell vintage clothes? Where is that passion coming from ?
I grew up with a Mother who was very expirimental with dressing. She always encouraged me to be an individual and to appreciate the beauty and history of well made garments. We had a huge dressing up box in what is best described as a cave under the stairs and I spent a lot of time there. In fact in old pictures of me as a child I seem to have spent a lot of time in dressing up clothes, turbans, Spanish flamenco dresses (my grand mother lived in Spain for 15 years and would send them over….a bigger one every year) When I was 11 I bought my first vintage piece. An Early 1970’s Brown sheepskin coat from a shop in Oxford on a school outing. Whilst everyone else was browsing in the highstreet I slipped off and found a shop in a backstreet called Unicorn. Well I say it was a shop…it was more like a room with hundreds of clothes piled on top of each other and a rather eccentric lady sitting on a chair in the middle of the pile. I felt compelled to go in and once in, I found the experience magical. The clothes were old and seemed to be simply things this lady liked. I saw the sleeve of the coat poking out at the back and asked her if I could see it. She rather begrudgingly got it out for me and I tried it on and I said id like it. I cant remember how much it was but it was worth every penny. I left with it on and wore it pretty much every day for 5 years. To put it in perspective……It is still a little big for me today so you can imagine how silly it looked when I was 11! But I remember the smell of the shop and the weight of the coat and the sense of history, that someone had owned it before me, that it had had its own life and that one day someone would own it after me. I was intoxicated by this idea that clothes could have a life of their own. I loved the idea of discovering something that someone else had discovered and making it my own. Something that I had chosen and that later would be chosen by someone else. Something that had hopefully been to wild festivals or magical underground gigs. Had belonged to a writer or a musician or a young girl with hopes and dreams like I had, a person that had seen things I hadn’t seen. That first experience has never left me.
I am always on the look out. If I go on a weekend away to a new place ill go thrifting. I was in Devon recently and found some gems in Totnes. I go to New York 3 or 4 times a year, I’m going to Paris later this year. People sell to me directly which I love because they can always tell me the story behind the piece which I can pass on to the person who buys it. I also do the vintage fairs on Sundays. Every now and then I find a wonderful piece in a vintage shop or high end charity shop. I recently found an East West Musical Instruments Co Navajo Jacket with beading and fringing in a charity shop in Worlds End. When I went home to research it, the cheapest one online was $2,000! I have emailed the biggest collector of the jackets in the states and given him the neatly stitched serial number. He will be able to tell who bought it originally as he has the archive list. I am hoping it is someone fabulous. They infamously dressed Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and even Elvis!
Yes I do appointments at home night and day and 4/5 times a year I do a 3 day sale. I share the space with my boyfriend who is a musician so it’s a hub of creativity, lots of amps, guitars, dresses, hats and coats hanging everywhere! I keep on saying I’ll get some neatly laid out salon type studio in Holland Park, but my clients are like “no please don’t, we love the chaos and the music and the pieces that appear from nowhere”. I have been approached by a couple of Boutiques to be stocked under my own label so watch this space as I think it is just about time to take the leap. I also do top to toe styling/sourcing for special events and parties. I once kitted out a family of 6 women for a 1920’s party and I’ve done some presenting for 1TV 2.
Do you have a specialty?
No. To be honest I love what I love and I usually just get a gut feeling about something. I have a Victorian cloak in at the moment but I also have a Bruce Oldfield lady in red long satin evening coat from the 90’s. If it’s a piece that works in my collection and reflects my eye I’ll choose it. I do have a lot of 70’s and 80’s pieces but many of the 80’s pieces I have reworked shorter or remove shoulder pads etc. I like to breathe new life into pieces within reason, but if I can keep them as they are I do. I always make sure my pieces are in excellent condition.
I have a couple of prototypes. I get very overexcited by prototypes, I have one by Paco Rabanne from the early 90’s and a Zandra Rhodes from the 80’s. Most of the pieces I sell I find hard to say goodbye to. I Could write a whole list!
Who are your favorite designers, why?
The cut of YSL, the colours and quirk of Zandra Rhodes and the punk of Vivienne Westwood. But there are so many designers that I love and admire many of whom are relatively unknown.
Who would you most like to come for an appointment?
Give me an hour with Lady Gaga, that would make my year. What I love about Gaga is that not everything she wears is necessarily outrageous, it’s just she puts it together in such a thoughtful way and everything is considered from the hair to the nails to the gloves and accessories. You can tell that she finds a piece that she loves and creates a story from that piece, she then becomes a walking piece of art. I’d love for one of her stories to start with a piece that I have chosen.
What is your favorite trend for Autumn/ Winter?
I’m really into Steampunk at the moment. Lace, leather, Velvet in black. Every vintage queen should have a hint of the elegant dominatrix about her this season.
My favourite thing to do is shop for Vintage….I know that might be a bit sad as it’s my job but it’s the truth! Otherwise I love finding a quiet café somewhere to sit and write (I’m on my third play and have been writing poetry since I was little). I make frequent trips to the Royal Court their new writing is always inspiring. Last minute gigs or fringe plays always result in meeting new and interesting people.
A favorite restaurant?
Rules is a special place for my boyfriend and I. It is the most beautiful old school restaurant in Covent Garden.
A favorite bar?
I am still searching for the perfect Cocktail bar. To be honest anywhere that does a Lychee Martini and I’m happy!
If you could live anywhere else, where would you live?
New York City !!!!
There is no reason not to live in New York. It is vibrant, eclectic and every day you wake up knowing that anything can happen. It is the city of limitless possibility. It is where I got inspired to open Lime Green Bow. I went to New York for three weeks and came back with 3 suitcases, a maxed out overdraft and opened Lime Green Bow a month later.
What’s next? Any project?
At some point a studio in Holland Park or Notting Hill and I’m sure you will see a selection of my pieces in a boutique in the not too distant future. Appointments continue as usual from St Helens Gardens W10 6LN.Clemmie is having a 3 day sale from Monday October 24th to the Wednesday the 26th. When: 12pm-8.30pm Where: 59A St Helens Gardens, W10 6LN (Corner of St Helens and Kelfield Gardens, 5 mins from Ladbroke Grove tube) Look out for the black door and lime green ribbon. What: Beautiful, quirky and unusual statement vintage pieces for the expirimental vintage queen, the designer junkie and the conservative magpie. Halloween outfits for fashionistas. For a private appointment give her a call on 07798602782