My Vintage Brighton: Leila McKellar
Leila McKellar, co-founder of clothes swapping events company My Swish and all-round glamourpuss, answers our questions on all things vintage and all things Brighton.
What do you do? I run My Swish, the South East’s premier clothes swapping events company, with Sarah Maddox, and also write a blog on ethical style, Paper Flowers.
What does vintage mean to you? The term ‘vintage’ never existed when I was growing up in rural Herefordshire. I used to wear 60s and 70s pieces rescued from charity shops or 20s and 30s ballgowns found in antique shops. The Brighton vintage scene would have been a dream come true for me!
How do you like to get dressed in the morning (and afternoon and evening)? I like to adopt different looks and personas according to my mood. I try not to stick to a set look because it becomes difficult to experiment with different fashion identities when you have one signature style.
What’s your favourite decade for style? It has to be the 1930s: I adore art deco style and love the glamorous starlets of the golden age of Hollywood.
What’s your favourite vintage shop in Brighton (and the surrounding area)? In Lewes I love Wooden Hill Vintage and Michele Doyle at Lewes Antiques. In Brighton I adore Gypsy and Wolf and Hope and Harlequin in the North Laines. The latter have the most exquisite wedding dresses. If I were ever getting married (which I’m not), I would definitely go here!
Where do you like to go to eat and drink yummy things? I adore the surreal menu at Terre a Terre. For Indian, it has to be authentic South Indian dosas at Indian Summer and for Japanese I love Murasaki – the aubergine and tofu in miso is to die for.
Where do you like to go to listen to awesome music? A cosy front room is nicer than any big venue, I always feel, so it has to be the house concerts organised by my lovely friend Sharon Lewis, aka Lady Ukulele.
What are your favourite vintage hangouts? On New Year’s Day we went for a trip on the Bluebell Railway and pretended we were living in a Miss Marple story. It was like stepping back in time!
Where do you like to go hunting for second-hand bargains? I’m a charity shop princess, but for me, nothing beats the buzz of free clothes from a clothes swap!
What has been your best ever vintage/second-hand/charity shop find? Gorgeous Salvatore Ferragamo black suede courts in the Red Cross shop in Lewes last month. I have also found some amazing pieces at clothes swaps: a Marc Jacobs skirt, Hermes purse and even a wedding dress!
What is it about Brighton that makes you smile? The Pavilion. It’s just so ridiculous.
Any other hints, tips or recommendations for vintage-lovers in Brighton and beyond? Yes! Come to our next clothes swap on 23rd January at the Lansdowne Place Hotel and get yourself a whole new look for free! Watch our website, www.myswish.co.uk, for news of a special vintage only swish coming up soon!