The Interview: Chris Hammond, Co-Founder of True Store and Director of True Vintage
True Vintage, the online vintage fashion store which specialises in rare 90s streetwear and designer fashion, recently made the move into the sale of new clothing via sister site True Store.
The business was founded by entrepreneur Rory Westbrook in 2014 when he was still a student and has gone on to gain a strong following among Gen Z and young millennial consumers. Westbrook became immersed in fashion from the age of 16 when he began working in clothing stores.
True Vintage has collaborated with a selection of well-known brands over the years from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger at their 2017 London Fashion Week to a reworked North Face collection of puffer jackets.
The brand recently launched a new store at 18 Earlham Street, Seven Dials. The new store provides visitors with the opportunity to custom-embroider their purchases, offering a personalised shopping experience. It stocks a diverse range of pre-loved items, including an exclusive Stone Island collection and collaborations with Gucci and Burberry.
TheIndustry.fashion speaks to Chris Hammond, Co-Founder of True Store and Director of True Vintage about the latest brand experience and the resurgence of vintage fashion.
Why did you choose London, and in particular, Seven Dials, for your first bricks and mortar store?
Seven Dials is, and always has been, a brilliant area for contemporary retailers. It has a real neighbourhood, community spirit to it; we feel like we’ve been here years already. It felt like the perfect fit to launch our first bricks and mortar store, especially alongside so many like-minded brands.
Tell us more about your brand – how does your store opening contribute to your brand journey?
It’s a been a long road to get to this point. If anything, our Seven Dials store opening is a huge reward for us and the teams hard work over the years to reach this milestone. True Vintage was developed to offer premium vintage clothing and accessories. We’ve also added ‘True Store’ to the company, an additional online retail site, which is going strong in its second year.
The idea behind our store opening, aside from always wanting to open a fully branded clothes site, was to bridge the gap between vintage and new clothing; to provide a complete offering to our customer base. The Seven Dials space is the perfect steppingstone to educate customers on the importance of vintage clothing whilst also providing them with additional, physical choice.
How does True Vintage contribute to the UK’s thriving vintage fashion industry?
We like to think we are a major contributor to the vintage industry. We engage on all fronts to help us grow further, whilst learning a great deal along the way and never forgetting the importance of having a good time.
Has the resurgence of vintage fashion helped secure more central bricks and mortar retail locations?
It’s hard to say really. I think the pandemic forced consumers think differently about both retail and retail stores in general. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to venture down this path, especially in launching our store in Seven Dials. The experience has taught me one thing for sure: never take things for granted; appreciate what you have and the people around you.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your business plans?
The past few years has definitely changed the way we look at retail trends now, especially with the industry evolving at such a volatile rate. We set on path filled with goals and slowly but surely, we will achieve them. Its business as usual in this sense.
A key theme at the forefront of consumer’s minds is sustainability – is this a central consideration for True Vintage?
Always! Regardless of which era of vintage clothing, whether it is 60’s, 70’s or 90’s (which we specialise in predominately), the circular economy is increasingly becoming a central consideration for consumers. We would like to educate existing and new customers, at our new Seven Dials store, that vintage is a good thing for our industry and the planet alike.
What does the future look like for True Vintage?
Bigger and better. We are constantly pushing ourselves to find the next trends and looks customers really want. We have some exciting launches coming up which involve digging deeper into a brands’ essential make up. Combining True Vintage with our Seven Dials site, as well as True Store, gives us great insight into what the future might look like for us.
Where do you see the vintage fashion sector in the next five years?
For me, lots of vintage offerings will be even more readily available in the next five years with even more amazing items from all over the world. From a personal perspective, I feel we can only adapt our remit and continue to push to be the best we can be whilst continuing to offer great vintage pieces at affordable prices.