"I grew up doing car boot sales and trawling charity shops and that's mine and my mum's favourite thing to do," Ariana Weldon explains as she proudly stands in the latest offshoot of her family's passion. "You can spend an entire day trawling and not uncover anything but then at the last moment you find something that is absolutely amazing - it's the best feeling. It's why at times, I find it hard letting things go because we've spent so much time looking for them." At a time when the oft overused term 'vintage' can mean anything from dust blanket tailoring to high street wares only a year or two old, Strut Vintage has established itself as a retail haven of well sourced beautiful items from past seasons. The fruits of Ariana and Hanna's shared enthusiasm enticingly hangs on each and every one of their rails.
Strut Vintage originally comprised of one boutique in Stoke Newington which housed both men's and women's wear with an accent on high-end designers and luxurious vintage pieces. Almost five years on this boutique remains one of the very few consignment stores in London but thankfully for us, the Strut duo haven't rested on their rails of well curated stock. Just last year Strut on Broadway was born. A modern take on the original, this boutique just off of Broadway Market, focuses more on the avant-garde set with pieces from Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Comme des Garçons alongside classic gems from Chanel to Ossie Clark. The latest addition to the Strut dynasty is Strut Man, Launched at the tail end of July on Stoke Newington Church Street, this menswear boutique aims encapsulates everything that has become synonymous with the Strut brand - carefully curated one off pieces from some of the most prominent designers of our time all housed in an inviting environment. When vintage shopping has become synonymous with crammed rails of all things retro and musk filled rags, Strut's desire to showcase only hand selected quality items can seduce even the most age cautious.
"Ever since we opened Strut, almost five years ago now, we've wanted to have a menswear store but just didn't find the right space for it. In the end it was right under our noses because we were using this space for another store and really, it was ideal for menswear.
To be honest, I think I might even get more of a buzz from menswear. I love menswear and we either find it one of two ways, amazingly pristine or really worn so when you do find it amazing condition it is even more special. We had menswear in the Broadway Market store and so many men were shopping with us and appreciated our offering but wished there was even more. In Stoke Newington the only menswear store is Hub which is great but we wanted to spice up the area that bit more.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks since the shop has been open, we've met so many guys out with their girlfriends who now have a place to shop. We've intentionally made the space as welcoming as possible, it's a place to meet and to talk through the new stuff."
Ariana on the the evolution of their latest store.
Now, I could happily wax lyrical about the store and recount Ariana's love of menswear but I'd only bore you, the best way to get a feel of the place is to explore it. Strut Man is a store that affords discoveries at every turn and below are a few of the items that caught my wanting eye...
Just a few of the things that caught my eye inside to Strut Man.
With a welcoming and comfortable environment that offers a working pin ball machine, a selection of my favourite magazines and all manner mouth watering design talent from Raf to Comme, Dries to Gautier and Issey to Acne the store offers surprises and forgotten gems at every turn. It is my kind of vintage and thankfully it is only just a short jaunt from my flat. However, those of you less fortunate do not despair and tame your green eyed monster with the news that Strut Vintage will soon launch an online store. "The garments that will go up on the online store will be the more archive pieces and anything that we think is extra special and deserves that wider audience," explains Ariana as she carefully wraps up my Raf Simons sweater. "Also, we are introducing a few new, young designers and helping them showcase new lines. For us, the more people that are working on this project, the more exciting it becomes." Given the evolution of Strut Vintage it should come as little surprise that Ariana and Hanna have much more in store for us. Here's to their vintage retail revolution.