After 10 years of offering a high-quality selection of vintage clothing, vintage store Beyond Retro has become an iconic destination for shoppers who are searching for authentic style. Fashion historian Amber Butchart started her career at Beyond Retro, where she worked as head buyer for seven years. Music is inextricably bound up with fashion for Amber, who ranks as the other half of DJ duo The Broken Hearts. Viewing culture as the bigger picture in her endeavours, she combines multiple career paths, and is also a well-known writer, broadcaster, design consultant and trend forecaster. Her illustrated talk 'Flooded with little Joan Crawfords: Hollywood in London in the 1930s' shone light on the art of home dressmaking and the influence of west coast glamour on fashion in the early 20th century.
Dazed Digital: What do you find so compelling about this era?
Amber Butchart: Although I'm also very interested in 18th century fashion, I have a fondness for the 30s. These interbellum years witnessed a rise of extreme politics which is reflected in the fashions. It was a time of technical innovation, rising hemlines, freedom and patriotism.
DD: As a fashion historian, what do you think the interest for vintage signifies?
Amber Butchart: I'm particularly interested in the way past styles continually come back into fashion. People tend to think it's a postmodern thing, but it's been going on since the 60s. Only now, not only old styles are being revisited, the old clothing itself is being re-used. The recent wider offering of affordable clothing and fast fashion is suffering a backlash towards more individuality.
DD: What does Beyond Retro mean to you personally?
Amber Butchart: I was there from the very beginning, and as my position and involvement grew – for example by doing the first quality controls – so did the company. I feel very attached to Beyond Retro.
Photography Kelly-Marie Burdekin