Melbourne boutique Stupid Vintage is a gender and size-inclusive Y2K dream

Melbourne boutique Stupid Vintage is a gender and size-inclusive Y2K dream

Sydney label Karameleon is giving sustainable fashion a Y2K-inspired twist

“Alongside our broad range of clothing, accessories and jewellery, you will find trinkets, art and decorations, including our iconic three-metre boobs.”

Melburnians Warwick Nowicki and Georgia Geraghty never intended to own their own clothing store. In fact, it almost came about by accident. The duo met in 2019, and at the time they were both working for vintage accessory and clothing businesses.

With their extensive experience in the fashion industry, particularly in secondhand fashion, they decided to launch a Sunday flea market, now known as the Southside Flea Market. But in order to secure the space for the market, they had to rent a Chapel Street storefront, and it was this storefront that evolved into their much-loved vintage store, Stupid Vintage.

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Stupid Vintage is a vintage-lovers dream space. Warwick and Georgia each have an impeccable personal style which shows in their carefully curated collections – every piece is a gem of a find.

Now with 12 contributing stockists, the gender and size-inclusive clothing store is frequented by Y2K and 90s lovers from all over Melbourne, each keen to get their hands on some prized vintage designer pieces. Below, Warwick and Georgia share their story.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background?

W and G: We are Warwick and Georgia [and] we are the owners of the vintage label and store Stupid Vintage. Currently, we have a store located in Windsor, which houses 12 vintage labels and we run the Southside Flea Market.

W: Over the past decade I have worked in many areas of the industry, as a freelance stylist and for years I worked for a boutique focusing on archive individually sourced European and Japanese pieces. On the side, I have always sold vintage of all kinds at local markets.

G: I studied media and communications for two years in Melbourne after leaving high school and then applied for an internship with a vintage designer handbag business based here in Melbourne. During this time I learnt heaps about the processes of sourcing vintage pieces both locally and internationally and how to authenticate designer items. Through this, I also learned the basics of operating a small business in the fashion industry.

How did the business get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges.

G: The journey of Stupid Vintage began in 2019 when Warwick and I met whilst both working for two separate vintage accessory and clothing businesses. Together we grew the concept of starting a Sunday flea market known now as the Southside Flea Market. In order to secure the space for the flea market, we had to rent a storefront on Chapel Street, and it was this storefront that was the beginning of Stupid Vintage.

We faced many challenges setting up the business in the beginning, there was very little support from family and friends and neither of us had any money in our bank accounts. Warwick and I are both Aries and are the type of people that when an opportunity comes up we give it our all. Through this tenacious attitude and the support of each other, Stupid Vintage succeeded against all odds.

Warwick and I are also unlikely friends; we have a lot in common, however, we are completely different people. We had only just met and were immediately in charge of two businesses together, the Southside Flea Market and Stupid Vintage. During the early days of both businesses, we ultimately were forced to spend a crazy amount of time together. What formed from this was an eclectic and unique bond, where we became an amalgamation of friends, business partners and ultimately family.

What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the business now?

W: At the time our main goal was sustaining the monthly flea market, and progressively as the shop began to gain small amounts of traction we were able to see tunnel visions. We were meeting other like-minded vintage sellers through our market and began taking a few of them on to sell in our store. In 2020 everything changed. We had only been operating for just short of a year, so it felt like we had lost everything when we were forced out of our store and into lockdown.

The space Stupid Vintage is now located in was originally a closed down restaurant [and] when attempting to take out a lease, we were met with hesitation from the landlord. With drive and persistence, we managed to lease the building on the condition that we remove the entire restaurant and its fittings. This was a time in our lives to learn many physical and mental lessons and after laughs, cries and a few small injuries, we reopened Stupid Vintage in Windsor.

This time with 12 stockists, a vending machine to purchase and develop film, and above the store a creative studio/co-working space. This store is a collaborative family of really special people, naturally motivating and inclusive. This has always been our ethos at Stupid Vintage and we are blessed to be in a larger space where we can expand and connect with more of the community.

How would you describe Stupid Vintage to someone who’s never been there before?

G: Stupid Vintage is a Y2K and 90s vintage lovers’ dream. Located on the back of Artists Lane in Windsor, the outside of the building is covered in street art from some of Melbourne’s beloved local artists. As soon as you walk inside you are greeted with an incredible range of unique and hand-curated vintage and designer pieces.

Alongside our broad range of clothing, accessories and jewellery, you will find trinkets, art and decorations, including our iconic three-metre boobs. We have 12 stockists in store, including two jewellery brands, so you are sure to find a piece that you adore.

W: It was really important for us to take a comical approach to the name. Originally it was going to be called That Stupid Vintage Store, but we knew this was too much of a mouthful. We really wanted to call the store something that resonated with the brand we were trying to develop.

It’s rather funny now when we communicate with other businesses and our bank and they ask our name or email, but we always say “Well you won’t forget the name will you!”. Stupid Vintage is funny (we think) and you can’t take life too seriously.

W: To have more patience, focus on long-term goals, not just short-term goals, know that nothing happens overnight and be careful who you trust in business. There is no backup plan so just focus and refuse to fail and in time you will see hard efforts pay off.

W and G: Xxflos, Jordan Benson Art, Love Manifesto, Sucker (collaborative local designers located in Brunswick) and So Familia Store located in Newtown, Sydney (mix of vintage and local designers).
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G: Artists, designers and emerging creators should always be acknowledged for their hard work. It’s important for the public and customers to consider the time, materials and effort it takes to create within the industry and how this may be reflected in their price points.

What should underpin any business is the ethos of inclusivity, not exclusivity. We want people to step out of the comfort zones of trends and trend cycles and focus on what fits their style comfortably and sustainably.

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