Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Street Watch -

FASH­ION SWEPT up in the ro­mance of by­gone eras, Ni­cole Jenk­ins is a vintage junkie.

She sur­rounds her­self in the garb of yes­ter­year, par­tic­u­larly dresses of 1930s flo­ral fab­rics, and lives in an art deco home boast­ing a mix­ture of Vic­to­rian and mid­cen­tury mod­ern fur­ni­ture.

The for­mer South Perth, now Mel­bourne-based, style spe­cial­ist has penned two books show­cas­ing her pas­sion and owns online em­po­rium Circa Vintage, with items span­ning two hun­dred years of Aus­tralian fash­ion.

“You will truly never get bored with vintage; it’s a boon for the cre­ative per­son,” Jenk­ins said.

“Over the years I have come to ap­pre­ci­ate its rar­ity, the fab­rics that sim­ply aren’t made any­more and the in­tri­cate and time-con­sum­ing tech­niques that are only pos­si­ble when some­one makes some­thing with love (or is paid very low wages).

“More re­cently I fell in love with it for be­ing the ul­ti­mate in green fash­ion – reusing and re­cy­cling rather than sup­port­ing an of­ten ex­ploita­tive mod­ern in­dus­try.

“One of my most prized pos­ses­sions is a ’ 20s silk vel­vet opera coat that my mum found in an op shop in the ’60s.”

Jenk­ins orig­i­nally opened Circa Vintage as a re­tail store in Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street in 2004 and re­lo­cated to the city in 2012 with a sa­lon in the Mitchell House art deco build­ing.

Her de­sire was to show peo­ple how time­less fash­ion could en­rich their lives.

The stock has grown over time to com­prise women’s, men’s and chil­dren’s wear, as well as fab­rics, hab­er­dash­ery, linen and cur­tains.

“I love all old things – the pas­sage of time im­bibes items with a depth, a soul,” Jenk­ins said.

“There is a great irony in older things be­ing bet­ter qual­ity than what we buy now in our mod­ern, af­flu­ent world and I love the sto­ries that they have to tell about other peo­ple’s lives. It’s a re­minder that we’re all just pass­ing through.”

Jenk­ins’ latest book, Style is Eter­nal, dis­cusses the phi­los­o­phy of fash­ion and is avail­able from lo­cal book­shops, as well as her online store, www.cir­cav­in­tage cloth­

Sara Fitz­patrick

A 1950s tulle ball­gown from Circa Vintage.

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