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Poppy Valentine

Poppy Valentine, named after the owner Claire’s daughter and nephew, began life as an online business and Portobello shop back in 2005.

In 2010 they relocated to Norwich where you can still find them now.

Why vintage and how did you come up with the name?

I have always been interested in vintage prints (when I started collecting them they were just 'old fabrics'!), I studied art and design then fashion so the prints were always close to my heart

The name, Poppy is my daughter and Valentine is my nephew, Claire just doesn't have the same ring to it.

 

Do you work alone?

I have a long standing friend and assistant, Bella who worked with me at the Portobello shop and still makes lots of frocks for me. Also, husband Tim does all the business stuff which I am pretty rubbish at.

 

What did you do previously?

After graduating from a fashion degree I worked in the fashion industry for 5 years, mainly designing for the high st, then I went into teaching and taught at an inner London secondary school for 8 years teaching textiles and graphics, mainly GCSE but some A level.

 

Finish this sentence…I wish I could have provided the costumes for…?

Well my first thought was Mad Men, but I suppose that's a bit obvious so maybe the 60s film Blow Up.

 

If you could step back in time, what decade would you travel to and why?

I would travel to the early 60s and go to Brighton on the back of a scooter.

 

What do you love most about your job?

I get to work with amazing fabrics and create stuff all day long! I have always been interested in vintage prints and I love discovering new fabrics; I've had some brilliant stuff over the years. I have a dress made from Marion Mahler fabric from 1952, I have a few pieces of fabrics that were shown in the Festival of Britain in 1951, and I love the evocative nature of the fabrics. I love when people go through the rails in the shop and say things like “my nana had some curtains like that!"

 

Have you got any tips for newbies wanting to get a vintage look from your shop?

You have to look for something a bit different, retail is really tough at the moment and there is a lot of competition from the big boys on the high street. You have to do something that the big boys can't do like make one offs and bespoke pieces.

 

Who past or present would you like to style and why?

Debbie Harry has always been a bit of a style icon to me, she'd look great in one of our Twiggy dress.

British Pathe: The First London Fashion Awards (1963)

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