| BNE May/June 2015
velyn Wood’s love affair with vintage style began with a visit to
an antique store in the small country town where she grew up.
Rummaging in the back of the store, trying on the clothes, she
found the first object of her affection – an early 1960s brown fur coat. It
may not have been the most practical fashion buy in a climate that stays
warm year-round, but that wasn’t the point, it was love at first sight and it
triggered a desire for vintage that blossomed over the next decade.
Wood started making her own clothes in high school and by the time
she reached college to study fashion design she was making extra garments
to sell at markets – her career in fashion had begun. Like many designers
before her the markets were a stepping stone to launching her own label
and Wood has finally taken the big leap. After working her way through
the ranks of manufacturing and sales roles with an established bridal
business Wood launched her eponymous label, first on the go-to hand-
then at her own online store – a site she also
designed and built herself – six months ago.
Wood’s signature style is to recreate glamorous vintage designs of the
1930s, ’40s and ’50s, hand-made to look as authentic as the real thing
inside and out. Finding her inspiration in books, classic movies starring
the likes of Marlene Dietrich, and defining trends from the era such
as Dior’s New Look, she uses dressmaking techniques of the period
with attention to details such as metal zips, rayon hem tapes and seam
coverings, covered buttons and belts, and generous open seams.
Some of her favourite patterns are sourced from original copies of the
Australian Home Journal
, although the avid dressmaker says the old-style
patterns are not for the faint-hearted and often need some tweaking to
suit modern body shapes. Her designs are all made to order and, while
vintage fabrics in large quantities are hard to come by, Wood sources
modern equivalents of textiles that reflect the period aesthetic – that
means no stretchy cotton!
Her attention to detail is winning a legion of fans among like-
minded fashionistas and it’s the true vintage aficionado that Wood is
hoping to win over. “They’re the ones who really know their stuff,” says
Wood who is clearly delighted by the comments about her collection