A raging love for vintage in Lewes
Stylist and fashion editor Jade Stavri opened her first vintage boutique, Scarlet Rage Vintage in Crouch End, last summer after years on the vintage fair circuit, and in November brought her hand-picked selection of 1920s to 1950s gems to Lewes with a second shop.
Vintage is a family affair for Jade – her mother used to have a stall at Camden – but her first solo step onto the ladder came when studying fashion at university. “We were all creative kids doing shoots and were skint, so I started my own vintage stall as there was a calling for it plus I wanted to be my own boss.”
Having moved on to style for TV hits such as Made In Chelsea and the Inbetweeners and work as the fashion editor of cult magazine Disorder, all while running stalls at vintage fairs around the country, fashion and sourcing has always been a big part of Jade’s life. Be it at work or at play, as her personal collection attests:
“My archive collection is a treasure trove of pieces ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s in styles and prints that I drool over – hence locked in my special cupboard. The pieces that I wear from day to day are mainly 1950’s full circle dresses and wiggles as you can never go wrong with those timeless styles – if it was good enough for Marilyn Monroe then it’s good enough for me!”
Jade has sold at events such as Goodwood Revival, Frock Me Chelsea, Clerkenwell, P & A Fairs and The Vintage Fair in Brighton to name a few, but opening the shop in Crouch End was, she describes, “a real starting point in making my dream come true”.
On choosing Lewes as the location for her second shop, Jade explains that that she went to school nearby – so there’s the personal connection – and also spotted a gap in the market. “We have such a speciality in the pieces and there isn’t a place that just sells from the 1920’s to the 1950s all at affordable prices in the town.”
Boasting the strap-line ‘Suppliers of Nostalgia’ and named after a vintage clothes label, Scarlet Rage Vintage sells a wide variety of womenswear from beaded tops and flapper dresses, through tartan skirts to 1950s day dresses for “everyday women”. Prices range from £5 to £100, with dresses starting at £45.
“The ethos of my business is not only to be affordable but to cater to all sizes – I just want to make women feel beautiful and comfortable.”
But it’s not just the stock that is likely to entice – the interior of Scarlet Rage is clean, striking and well thought out and Jade even promises that “you’ll smell something beautiful” on entering. Antique travel trunks, a central chandelier and elegantly upholstered lounge chairs accent the white wooden floors, brick walls and long open rails, and the carefully styled shop window display changes regularly.
“I source the props from antique markets in Paris and sometimes the most random of places. I may be walking past a junk shop and see something that people may ask ‘what the hell is that?’ and I’ll think ‘oh that’ll do for our Halloween window’”.
This magpie purchasing goes some way to explain the huge silver cowboy boot that added some festive sparkle to the window for Christmas. “It did shed silver glitter everywhere but that made me happy.”
Of course vintage sellers rarely give away their sourcing secrets, but from travelling the globe to find those special pieces – be it clothing, accessories or propos – Jade reveals that the antique markets in Lille and Hells Kitchen in New York are great spots for the vintage-loving traveller.
And closer to home Jade names Brighton’s Rob the Dog on Sydney Street as a great place for menswear – “I’ve known the owner for many years and always like to try on the clothes and pretend I’m a man, much to their amusement” and describes Sue May’s small selection of vintage and antique items in Lewes as “well worth a gander”.
So next time you’re in Lewes, pop into the shop at 40 Cliffe High Street and let us know what you think. And if Lewes is a regular shopping destination of yours, we’d love to know where else you spend your pennies…
Jade’s five favourite pieces
- A 1950s full-skirt scalloped velvet and satin evening dress with diamante details.
- A stunning 1940s red ruched dress (pictured) with beautiful bow detail on the back.
- A wonderful fully-sequined Las Vegas spider web dress that is completely awe-inspiring.
- An original film set light (pictured).
- I love my original 1950’s varsity letters – great for making any piece personalised.