Friday, 9 July 2010

Unveiling a Rare Gem: Vintage Mavens

I'm not usually a vintage magpie, but something pretty special caught my eye the other day after a sweet comment was left on my blog. I just knew I had to share this amazing lady with all of you and of course make a few investments along the way...

Fashion bunnies, let me introduce you to Shareen of Vintage Mavens (VM) for she is one of the cool new breeds of Vintage Mavericks on the block.
After one click, I discovered that not only does she have her own online Vintage Boutique, but she also, models (she's bloody gorgeous this one) and styles the shoots for her brand, Vintage Mavens... what a talented gal?
I must admit, before I could skim the rest of the blog, I checked out the shop first, which had me clicking on 'Sign Up with PayPal' faster than you can say future heirlooms.

No rummaging here, the blog is chock full of beautifully presented lust-worthy one-offs (- so wish I hadn't told you now, as i'll have to fight you for the goodness!), hand-picked by Shareen and her mega awesome Dream Team to ensure they're of the highest quality.

Moving on, A Brit Greek had the opportunity to catch up with this busy young lady...

When did you launch VM and why did you start an online business?
I launched VM back in 2009, but the concept was totally different. I re-launched it in May with a completely different, more professional look. The biggest difference was that I became the model. That was probably the hardest transition to make. I started VM to share the amazing vintage that can be found in Miami with girls from all over the world. I also wanted to create an ebay store without the tedious bidding process. All the items are buy-it-now. If you like it, you can just buy it.

Have you given up Styling/Visual Merchandising to work F/T on Vintage Maven? Or are you part of today’s modern woman, who juggles everything & multi-tasks?
I totally over-stretch myself!! I'm a part time freelance visual merchandiser and stylist while doing Vintage Mavens. Out of everything I do, Vintage Mavens is my absolute favorite & what I'm mostly devoted to. Hopefully, as VM gets more attention, I can give up some of my other side jobs and give it all my attention!

What's a typical day in the life of Shareen Sarwar?
Sleep through my alarm, spend at least an hour eating breakfast and reading the newspaper with my husband (this is the only guaranteed time we actually see each other!), walk the dogs, go to my jobs, grab a cafe con leche on the way, go vintage hunting (I do it every day), try to squeeze in a VM photo shoot, and have my evening tea while watching Magnum P.I.

Where do you source your gorgeous vintage pieces?
I scope out garage sales and estate sales for most of my pieces. Miami has TONS of phenomenal vintage - there is never a shortage of amazing pieces.

What’s been the most amazing find ever?
It's something I just found last week. It's a brocade lace mini dress with five layers of tulle that make the skirt. It's phenomenal. I'll be posting it soon!

Don’t you ever just want to keep all the stunning finds for yourself? Have you ever ended up keeping something that you intended to sell?
Rule Number One: never keep the vintage you get on buying trips! It's not for me - it's for everyone else. If I really can't seem to stop thinking about a piece, I'll do a photo shoot with it for the blog and get it out of my system.

What do you love most about vintage clothing?
I love the fact that it represents a piece of history. I also love the idea of recycling clothing. It's a huge part of why I started Vintage Mavens.

Is your wardrobe chock full of vintage? If not, where do you shop, high-street/designer shops/brands etc?
I'd say a majority of my closet is vintage clothing I've collected over the years. I also love shopping online at Nasty Gal - they have great items at extremely affordable prices. Plus, I like to support the local designers here in Miami, so I visit the small boutiques here often.

Fave dress?
This one gorgeous cotton mini dress my mom got for me while in Bangladesh (that's where I'm from). It's vibrant blue and yellow with a lovely tribal print.

Fave bling?
An oversized coral and gold cocktail ring I got on a trip to Burma three years ago. My grandmother got it for me.

Fave shoes?
My Jeffrey Campbell Mary Rocks wedges. I wear them a bit too much.

Fave jacket?
A vintage mustard yellow pleated trench coat. Though, I don't have much reason to wear jackets in Miami.

Your bling is simply one of a kind, are they for sale? If not, where can the girls go to get something similar?
I don't really wear earrings or necklaces very often, but I ADORE rings... and the bigger, the better! My rings are a combination of vintage, gifts from my family, and store bought. I don't sell the rings, but have hopes to launch a small accessory line in the future. You can be sure it'll have tons of oversized cocktail rings!

The photography for some of the shoots on your blog are just stunning, who comes up with the concept, finds the location, does hair & make-up etc?
My husband photographs all of my photo shoots. He is just the most amazing photographer with the most complex eye. We usually sit down on a weekly basis and come up with the concept and location together. We recently did a series of photographs at the Gold Coast Train Museum here in Miami. That one was so much fun to do. My good friend Sheenon Olson does my hair and make-up. He's pretty fantastic at it, too.

Originally from NY, but residing in Miami, would you say you’re a New Yorker or Miami girl at heart?
If you asked me this question three years ago, I would have screamed "NEW YORKER!" at the top of my lungs while flashing my NY driver's license in your face. But nowadays, it's hard for me to deny my Miami pride.

Fave shops in Miami:
AE District, Alchemist, and All-Saints.

Style is….? 90% confidence and 10% fierce dresses

p.s Kate Moss, if you're reading & are a true vintage aficionados, you know you want a piece of VM so grab that plastic before the best bits get taken.

If you snooze, you lose, click here to start shopping!
NB: Some of the items in the shots used in this post may have sold out, please check on VM's online store for more information.

ref: all images via Vintage Mavens

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