Fashion Revolution 2017: A Flurry of Vintage in Florence

29th April, 2017

In a city regaled for its scale-defying abundance of artistic heritage, it comes as little surprise that Florence's vintage-shopping scene gains increasing adulation with each passing year. From channelling foreign fashions of the 20th century to paying elegant homage to moda fiorentina of yesteryear, even the most selective of style purveyors will find their vintage tastes well-satisfied. As Fashion Revolution 2017 enters its final two days - having shown global strength and ever-increasing initiative against exploitative fast-fashion tactics - there can be no better occasion to lengthen the lifespan of pre-existing garments, to minimise ecological impacts and maximise personal-style benefits:

Melrose Vintage - Via Dei Ginori, 18r

{Open 11am - 8pm, 2 - 8pm openings on Sundays}

If boutiques could ever possess human qualities, Firenze's own Melrose Vintage would have one of the most vibrant personalities around. From collar-popping shirts to colour-popping cord trousers - with a generous array of leather bikers and cowboy roots in between - both male and female vintage aficionados (with a particular love for 50s-80s style) are in excellent company here. Well worth exploring for the quirky interiors alone - retro Americana influences meet a smattering of Brit Pop - the psychedelic prints struck a particular chord with me, dancing across skirts and shirts priced at a mere 15/20. A large percentage of tourists gravitate towards this Via Dei Ginori branch, given its relative proximity to Piazza Del Duomo, while its sister shop on Via Nazionale - filled with just as much colour and creativity - boasts predominantly local clientele. 

Stefania Masini Vintage - Sdrucciolo dei Pitti 21r // 1.3km / 16 mins walk from Melrose Vintage

{Open 10am - 6pm, Monday to Friday}

Stefania Masini's vintage wonderland colourfully holds court in one of Florence's most dynamic side-streets (a deliciously-virtuous eatery, inventive contemporary-design studio, opulent sartoria and sparkling antique shops occupy neighbouring shop fronts). The latest incarnation of her father's former studio - his artisan tools are proudly displayed on Masini's own work-space - lovingly-sourced collections glisten and gleam under a stunning antique chandelier. Displaying a penchant for jewel-encrusted evening-wear - her luxurious yet accessibly-priced garments would bewitch many a sequin magpie - eclectic vintage offerings are juxtaposed with Masini's imaginative craftsmanship. The latter encompasses a vivid selection of silk scarves, dyed using the most intriguing techniques (one involving the use of salt crystals, guaranteeing that no two designs ever turn out identically), which cascade down one display rail at the bargain price of €5 each. Undoubtedly worth perusing for a gem that can hold its own in any wardrobe - my latest discovery was a €15 cerise-pink tweed skirt from the 60s, hand-crafted by a Florentine seamstress whose work included stints at Gucci and Pucci. 

Vintage Verabis - Via Maggio 33r // 13m / 1 min away from Stefania Masini Vintage

{Open 11am - 6:30pm, closed Mondays & Tuesdays}

A sartorial "Cave of Wonders" in every sense of the phrase, those who enjoy digging a little for their stylish spoils will relish the opportunity at Vintage Verabis. Brought to life by self-confessed hoarder Vera - whose engaging personality is as colour-filled as the clothes themselves - the trio of rooms are piled impossibly high with a spectrum of garbs, jewels and effortlessly-chic shoes. With shoppers free to browse endlessly in a non-pressured setting, each repeat visit garners a new layer of stylish unearthing - from decorative Asian dresses in pastel hues to mint-condition, printed suits from the likes of Missoni and Kenzo. Recent purchases include an iridescent-sequin cami top and a jet-black mesh cardigan heavily adorned with sparkling beads (10 and 40 respectively - affordability is prevalent here). 

9 Rosso - Borgo S. Jacopo, 9r // 400m / 5 mins from Vintage Verabis

{Open 10:30am - 1pm, 3:30 - 7:30pm ; closed Sunday & Monday mornings}

Full to the brim with extravagant accessories, eye-catching prints and kaleidoscopic costume jewellery, one could readily imagine Iris Apfel feeling right at home in this vintage cornucopia. Stepping inside this bewitching Oltrarno boutique - a multi-hued fixture on Borgo S. Jacopo since 2014 - it becomes instantly apparent that each piece has been hand-selected with impeccable care and innate finesse. From one-of-a-kind Afghanistan kimonos - replete with authentic embroideries - to gowns fit for an Indian princess, 9 Rosso gathers the greatest vintage from various global cultures and gives each and every selection contemporary relevancy. Purchase a treasure or two (or three) at this beloved establishment, and your wardrobe/jewellery box will pay you a thousand thank yous.

Ceri Vintage - Via Dei Serragli, 26 // 650m / 8 mins from 9 Rosso

{Open 10am - 12:30pm, 3:30 - 7:30pm}

With its sought-after status cemented as a hub for visiting fashion cognoscenti, Ceri Vintage has carved out an unrivalled niche for individualistic shopping experiences. Having initially stemmed from the owner Danilo's love of military-wear - a curiosity first sparked at 12 years of age - as the boutique has evolved, an ever-increasing number of "normal" vintage creations permeate the specialised, highly authentic collections of turn-of-the-19th century workwear. Undoubtedly worth frequenting in the height of Pitti Uomo season - when its ample international fanbase return to town for a week of festivities - this no-frills celebration of carefully-curated vintage is, equally, a firm favourite with stylists and forward-thinking students alike.

Alongside "An Abundance of Vintage In Amsterdam", this article was published in celebration of Fashion Revolution Week, 24-30th April: a worldwide event which strives to make our industry better, cleaner, more transparent and more empowering. Giving power back to the consumers as they ask brands #whomademyclothes on social media, every detrimental aspect of fashion's mass consumerism - from ecological impacts to grave disadvantaging of garment workers - is spotlighted, free of sugar-coating, and solutions are found and shared in solidarity. Even the smallest of changes makes a remarkable difference: extending the life of clothing by a further 9 months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20/30% each. It's hard to ignore throughly-backed up statistics such as these, never once designed to shame or guilt consumers, but rather start a vital conversation on how we treat our world and the workers who produce our clothes - discovering facts and figures that have been long concealed to many of us.

Purchasing vintage/second-hand, especially with a quality-over-quantity approach, gives longevity to pre-existing clothing whilst also minimising environmental ramifications. It's equally likely that your vintage-shop finds will prove far more durable than their fast-fashion equivalents, given that ever-increasing shortcuts (such as quality of fabric used) are being made by multinationals in their damaging quest to produce disposable garments at the highest velocity. Sustainable fashion can be just as affordable, innovative and multi-coloured as the high-street chains of this world - and this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

"Let's take a stand against disposable fashion, impulse buys and fast fashion fixes! We need to buy less, and love forever. The more we love our clothes, the more we care for them, and the longer they last."

Fashion Revolution

Amelia xx

La Femme Éclectique