Beyond Retro – an interview with Joe Donaldson

Style, Trends

Is the increasing popularity of vintage clothing making it lose it’s individual flare?

With the increasing demand for vintage clothing and everything unique, DLN caught up with vintage fanatic  Joe Donaldson,  to hear what he had to say about the mainstreaming affect on these historical garments.

What makes beyond retro different from every other vintage shop in your opinion?

The best thing about beyond retro, because it’s a Canadian company, a lot of the product that we get in store is not stuff you see on the high-street, it’s not UK brands. We’ve also got warehouses now in India and Abu Dhabi as well so we get product from there as well.

Do you think that because vintage clothing has become so mainstream now that it potentially might lose it’s real aesthetic value, uniqueness?

I don’t think so. The only real danger is that it’s obviously going to run out. But I think the fact that it’s becoming popular is great. I think it’s really important that everybody can have access to clothes that you can’t get on the high-street and not necessarily on trend, uniqueness is everything.

So, what experience do you try to make for the customer when they walk in to the store?

We’re big into customer service here and product knowledge. With all new staff they do lots of era training so they learn a lot about the 50s, 60s, 70s just so they really really know their stuff when the customers come in. We constantly make sure that people are always moving around working on departments, greeting all the customers as they walk in. And also making sure the shop floor looks good so you can always find what you’re looking for and keeping on top of standards as well.

Why did beyond retro open up a store in Dalston? why Dalston?

We’re quite keen on the company expanding and growing, always looking for new properties. I think Dalston made the most sense as the next stop because it’s up and coming, quite a trendy area, lot of students are living around here, there’s a great nightlife. I think we were the first of our kind to open up on the street.

Who would you say is your target customer?

For this branch in particular, most of our customers is an older demographic, so we get a lot of the yummy mummies from like Stoke Newington, whereas the other stores have a much younger demographic, ours is maybe a little bit more mature.

What do you like about Dalston? Do you get any fashion inspiration from walking the streets?

It’s great, you always get to see people wearing different things, sometimes quite weird things but it’s fun.

What do you specifically like about vintage clothing? What sets it aside from the high-street brands in your opinion?

The quality. I like the fact that you can buy a pair of trousers and they’ve already existed for 50 years. Whereas you don’t get that if you shop at Primark or Topshop. I like the choice as well, you got to put a bit more work in to it, it’s not spoon fed to you.

Do you think that the pricing of vintage clothing has gone up?

I think the way the vintage market is going, because they are trying to appeal to a high-street customer they’re taking a lot more into account. I think in that respect it is priced more if it’s more seasonal. The longer a company is going the better they get at spotting true vintage and what is quite valuable.

For more information on the store visit, and be sure to go down to have a look and grab a cheeky coffee.

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