On a chilly December morning, Mr. Ben’s Retro Clothing shop – an heterogeneous rainbow-cum-vintage goldmine situated on perimeter of Kings Court– is an inviting saviour from the cold.
From the minute I step beyond the doorframe, beyond the coats and briefcases sitting idly outside, with our model, Glasgow University student Georgia Wilkinson, it occurs to me that I am closer than I have ever been to the visual representation of eclecticism. This is a sensation that revisits me throughout the duration of my “not long enough” visit.
Now, listen here: I once considered myself to be an apostle of the vintage lifestyle for several reasons which I now realise happen to hold little value in somewhere like Mr. Ben’s. These include, but are not limited to, having a record collection that is composed entirely of charity shop finds and my dad’s original purchases – with the exception of one solitary Ed Sheeran album. I also frequently wear a satchel, and use an instant camera, and I am most definitely an advocate for the sepia-toned filter wherever possible. Surely I qualify?
However, having spent a morning amid Mr. Ben’s rails that – and I really do need to emphasise this – are saturated by trench coats, and dresses, and cashmere, and tweed, and tartan that collectively span the centuries, I am now questioning the authenticity of my past claims, and I’m more inspired than ever to shop vintage. Real vintage.
As a student, often one of the biggest concerns we encounter is what to wear and whether or not we can actually afford our taste (or new clothes at all). Venturing into charity shops or sourcing secondhand goods online isn’t anything to turn your nose up at anymore. In fact, it’s a bit of a sport; the satisfaction of turning up to meet your friends in a complete outfit that cost less than a pair of trainers is a feeling we should be chasing after and that can definitely be achieved somewhere like here.
Shops like Mr. Ben’s make it very easy to slip back into the rapport of buying local where we can place a human face on the shopping experience again.
The outfits Georgia wears in the surrounding photographs here were all sourced from the depths of Mr. Ben’s Retro Clothing. As you’ll see, whether it’s a ball gown you’re after or a genuine aviator coat predating the war, Mary-Ann King’s life’s work has you covered from head to toe for a fraction of the price of the high street.
All that’s left to say is that you should get yourself down there and find it before somebody else does.