Graphic designer Mat Keller recently launched Southern Retro, an online photographic collection of vintage-lovers in the South East and beyond, for whom “reviving and reliving a vintage or retro style isn’t just something to do on a weekend but something they live on a day to day basis”.
“Part of the reason for setting up the project was to capture something special that is going on around me and that I am a part of; namely the retro and vintage scene,” Mat says.
Already featured on the site are Donna Grimaldi, owner of Bobby Sox Vintage Clothing, and mum and musician Lucy Wells, both fans of 1950s culture and style who love the vintage hunt.
“There’s nothing like the thrill of finding a gorgeous garment that has a history, is more well-made than the high street and is a complete one-off,” says Donna.
Mat explains that the vintage lifestyle is inclusive for many fans of the past, but feels that with the recent emergence of vintage and retro clothing on the catwalk and the high-street, those who do “live and breath it” are often seen as merely followers of fashion.
Of course living a vintage lifestyle is about more than just fashion: “It’s about keeping alive the traditions, styles, music and designs of the past and integrating them with the modern world around us.
“What fascinates me about the people I’ve met who live this lifestyle is that they fill their lives with those aspects of the past that seem to me to be lacking in today’s society. We are part of a generation that didn’t grow up with partner dancing, with good manners, a respect for ourselves and those around us, our environment, our appearance and of last-ability and make-do-and-mend.
“Our houses are filled with furniture and artefacts of the past, we dress in clothes that are often several decades old, in a style that has lasted longer than most of us have been alive.
“We aren’t doing all of this just to be fashionable or to be different, but because these things are important to us and, I feel, important to the world we live in. These are things that are missing and that need to be celebrated, respected and applauded.”
Mat is always on the look out for more people to feature as part of the project, and is interested in hearing from anyone who has a passion for the retro or vintage lifestyle “that extends beyond a passing interest”.
Get in touch with Mat via the Southern Retro website.