Australia doesn’t have the same variety as Antwerp but there are still quite a few outlets that are literally brimming with collectable vintage fashion.
Dot COMME, in Melbourne, founded by Otto La Rosa seven years ago, has items from the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons and Walter Van Beirendonck.
People see certain items being worn on Instagram and go about tracking them down
Otto La Rosa, founder of dot Comm
La Rosa regularly travels to Japan, France and Italy in search of unique pieces. Although he has particular favourites of his own to wear, including Walter Van Beirendonck, he can easily track movements in what’s currently desirable vintage fashion.
A denim jacket and matching trousers by Junya Watanabe from his 2002 collection featured a series of poems printed across the denim inside the jacket and on the outside of the jeans for a fashion statement.
A few years ago, La Rosa was selling this jacket for about $400. Today, the price tag is $1200 – a more-than-handy profit if you snapped it up before it became a “hot” item.
Social media has an important role to play in the appreciating value of fashion items, La Rosa says.
“People see certain items being worn on Instagram and go about tracking them down,” he says.
One ensemble in La Rosa’s back room is from Comme des Garcon’s 1996 Winter Collection.
The printed velvet green jacket and deconstructed pleated dress is one of La Rosa’s most prized combos. “I wouldn’t sell it for less than $5000, if at all,” he says.
At Melbourne’s Bruce at Bruce, Paul Harnden, Elena Dawson and MA + are highly coveted, along with Guidi and Yohji Yamamoto.
Store manager Hugh Barton says clothes from these designers are timeless.
“People can spot a Paul Harnden jacket as soon as they walk in. Even a price tag in excess of $1200 doesn’t dampen their interest,” he says.
The Vintage Clothing Shop, in Sydney, offers European classics, including Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci.
Shoppers with a little less money to spend might appreciate the 1950s and 60s dresses, many of which can be purchased for less than $100.
However, those with finer tastes can expect to pay up to $3500 for a 1980s Chanel ensemble – still only about a third of the original price tag.
Stephen Crafti is a specialist in contemporary design, including architecture, furniture, fashion and decorative arts.