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at Creasey doesn’t just love vintage, she

lives it. She wears only vintage clothes,

drives a 1964 Ford Falcon wagon and

surrounds herself with furniture and knick-

knacks resurrected from the 1950s through

1970s. She has a personal collection of clothing

that could easily be one of Australia’s largest

with pieces dating back as far as the 1920s –

thousands of items that are literally pushing

Creasey and her partner Matt Whalley out of

their home. Not that the couple is complaining.

They are on the lookout for a period home

they can restore back to its former glory or one

they can give their own flair of TLC – but it

will need to be big enough to house their ever-

growing number of collectibles.

Creasey and her partner have been pursuing

their passion for vintage since they were

teenagers but now they are part of a growing

breed. Vintage is in and everything old is new

again, from vinyl records (Youth Group will

be the latest to reissue an album on vinyl when

Skeleton Jar

drops on 26 June) to polished up

street machines.

Festivals and fairs are proving to be a

magnet for vintage lovers. The number

of visitors to Cooly Rocks On, Australia’s

biggest nostalgia festival, jumped 15 per cent

last year to almost 110,000, booking out

accommodation at Coolangatta and Tweed

Heads months in advance. This year the

festival, which particularly celebrates all things

’50s and ’60s (but also shows classic cars

restored from as far back as the 1920s), will

extend from 29 May to 8 June, closing city

streets for the grand finale weekend of parades

and entertainment.

Kat Creasey attended her first Cooly Rocks

On festival at age 16, selling accessories from

a market stall, and she had so many requests

from people asking her if she could do their

hair like hers that the next day she hung up

a sign offering her services “for a donation”.

People were lining up ... and handing over

$50 notes.

From there Creasey went off to get herself

some qualifications and now she runs a

successful business doing vintage hair and

makeup – the day after our interview she was

booked to do a bridal party of 13 – and she’s

in demand for photo shoots, often providing

the styling as well.

This year she will be back at Cooly Rocks

On – her eighth – sharing her pop-up ‘studio’

with another hair and makeup artist where

demand can see them styling as many as 170

girls over just four days.

Creasey’s passion and her authentic

approach have earned her a loyal clientele

and some fly in from as far afield as Canada

especially to see her during the festival. Her

reputation has also created a waiting list for

the markets she runs at Burleigh Heads. On

the fourth Sunday of each month Burleigh

RSL – built in 1953 – is rejuvenated with

the buzz of more than 50 stallholders selling

vintage and reproduction wares under the

banner of the Gold Coast Design Collective.

Creasey is already scouting for another

location to meet growing demand.

Vintage is becoming so popular now

it’s almost at risk of blending in to the

mainstream. “Five years ago people used to

stop me in the street and ask me why I was

dressed this way,” says Creasey. Now she barely

raises an inquisitive eyebrow. In fact, if she

isn’t ‘done up’ people who know her will ask

what’s wrong.

“Five years ago there weren’t many girls

wearing it but vintage is massive now. It’s

become more readily available – even modern

stores have vintage styling, such as Review,

inspired by [TV series]

Mad Men

– and the

recycled movement is big, people like the

suitcase rummage-style sale and do trades.”

Jess Barty mixes old and new at her eccentric

little store Sunday Social in Fortitude Valley.

“Vintage is more than a trend. It’s a way to wear

something no one else has,” she says. “A part

of our following is that people can buy unique

pieces that are fashion forward. I keep an eye

on what’s popular at the moment and source

vintage and new that way.”

Barty stocks roughly 50/50 new and

original vintage items she sources at markets,

op shops and garage sales. “Sourcing is hard

work but it’s my favourite part of the job. I

take inspiration from magazines, tumblr and

old movies and then go hunting,” she says.

Barty adores the fashion of the 1960s and

1970s herself and showcases pieces as quirky

as see-through socks, oversize rose-tinted

sunglasses, visors and psychedelic dresses. Her

collection of earrings particularly has won a

cult following for its quirky shapes including

orange slices, chips and purple ponies.

Ajanta Willert, who owns vintage haunt

Can You Keep a Secret with Emily Moss,

confesses to a particular love of 1970s style and

so together they have recently opened a bar

Brisbane’s love of vintage style is more than a passing fancy and many

devotees are living their dream

BNE May/June 2015 |


Photography by Danielle Hamilton