Number 52 Frogmore Street sits quietly painted blue in the busy market town of Abergavenny. Vintage coats and dresses are elegantly staged in the bay-window, wrapped in gorgeous furs and telling tales.
Say hello to Vintage Vision, social enterprise, workshop and vintage outlet. Created in 2009, this little gem is the love-child of Amanda Peters and a brainstorming session in the pub. Run by volunteers and donations, the non-profit business has recently expanded to both Blaenavon and Chepstow, where it has been recognised by Monmouthshire Museums.
Trustee, Bernadette Kelly says: “It’s hard work running any business, doing it for zero financial reward might seem crazy, but it’s genuinely rewarding when you realise how much you’re ‘giving back’. That might be seeing a young volunteer blossom, or an older volunteer feel less lonely. Or it might be the fact that a dress that was going to be thrown out is now being worn and loved by someone new.”
Bernadette explains that Vintage Vision has three main themes. Firstly, the environment. The business is big on recycling and offers free sewing classes to prevent good clothes going to the landfill: “There was a recognition that people were careless with their clothes, if it needed a new zip they threw it away, sometimes because they didn’t have the skills to repair it. Plus there are lots of older women who can sew and who might like the opportunity to share their skills with others,” says Bernadette.
Secondly, the social aspect, through the work of donations, volunteers and workshops, Bernadette believes that the shop provides an outlet to make new friends: “If you’re on your own, or new to the area, how do you meet new people? Volunteering at the shop or joining the classes provides an easy way to make friends,” explains Bernadette.
And lastly a passion for vintage! The shop mainly has vintage items from the 1880 era upwards, but Bernadette tells us that they’ve previously had 1830 dresses donated too! An important aspect of all the clothes donated to Vintage Vision are the stories that go with them: “We’ve had sad, funny and romantic stories. We also have a luggage label which someone wrote on and attached to her corduroy suit from the 1970s, such stories are a social history,” says Bernadette.
Below is a gallery of the beautiful vintage donations inside Vintage Vision, Abergavenny. The next event is an Attic Sale on Saturday the 1st of February, the girls also run talks for groups such as the Women’s Institute, so watch out for those too!