I'd like to welcome my newest sponsor, Pin-Up Parade, an online shop selling repro vintage clothing and accessories. UK stockist of Bettie Page Clothing and their own label, Swagger Joint. I asked owner Helen a few questions about her shop.
Hi Helen! Can you introduce us to Pin-Up Parade - how did you get started with your business?
I started Pin-Up Parade in 2007, initially as a website to showcase pin-up photography in Europe – hence the name! A few months after starting the online gallery, I decided to start selling clothing. At the time, there were very few shops in the UK selling American repro, and of those, none sold the largest sizes. As a larger lady at the time, I found it frustrating, so decided that my own shop was the way to go. So that’s why Pin-Up Parade is a little different from other online retailers, as not many come with hundreds of pin-up photos!
You recently launched your own line of vintage reproduction dresses - that's pretty exciting! Tell us a bit more about that?
I started Swagger Joint last year, although it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I never learnt how to make clothes for myself so when I was about 20, I found a dressmaker, who I went to with ideas for vintage-style dresses based on things like Jean Seberg’s Dior day-dress in A bout de souffle. She moved in the end, so that’s how I ended up buying repro from America, but I still had ideas for dresses and so after a lot of research, decided to go into production with my own label, called Swagger Joint. The name came from an idea for a website that Fiona from Notorious Kitsch and I had – the term actually comes from Max Ducharne’s hipster-slang dictionary “Straight From the Fridge, Daddio”!
Anyway, when I used to go to the dressmaker to get things made for myself, I loved choosing the fabrics and would have dresses made in satin-backed crepe and woollen dogtooth or herringbone. In fact, when I was little, my mum used to make dresses for me, and I loved going to the sewing shop to choose the patterns and fabrics. So when I started doing Swagger Joint, I wanted to have really nice fabrics. That’s why the Avril dress is made from wool crepe – it’s a fantastic cloth which hangs really nicely and is very authentic for 1950s dresses. It does make the dress more expensive, but I think it’s definitely worth it. I like different textures and the way different fabrics catch the light, so you’ll see the shiny bronze lamé on the Viv dress (above right) contrasting with its velvet collar and covered buttons.
I wanted to do something a little simpler with the fabrics for the Olivia (above left), but the Chinese satin brocade is still rather glamorous. In fact, I showed the sample to my mum, and she said it was just like a dress my very glamorous grandma used to have in the 1950s, so hopefully I’ve got something right! The cotton versions of the Olivia are inspired by the many customers I have who need something to go swing dancing in, and I’m looking forward to wearing the fan print cotton Olivia dress in Spain next year.
All Swagger Joint clothing is made in the UK by small, family-run companies. There’s going to be a range of matching accessories for the Olivia dresses, also handmade in the UK - those will be in stock soon.
Anything else you'd like to add?
As well as my own line, I stock Bettie Page Clothing, and will soon be stocking Rago shapewear. I also sell the fantastic Lauren Rennells vintage styling books for hair and make-up.
Where can we find you?
Find us online at www.pinup-parade.com, or follow us on twitter and facebook.