Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Frocktasia Takes Centre Stage!

Once there was a timid blogger with no followers.
Then a beautiful, dynamic woman came to visit and the blogger was timid no longer.
Meet Jen, one of my first faithful followers ... a brilliantly talented and spunky woman who loves to give trends a swift kick in the pants.

Jen's recent switch to her new blogging and business adventure, Frocktasia, started with a massive clear out of her London home to make way for a dedicated room groaning with vintage treasures.
I'm so grateful to Jen for agreeing to this interview to talk about Frocktasia.

What is Frocktasia?
I have been a dedicated vintage- second hand clothing wearer and gatherer since my early teens.
Through thrifting for unique pieces and turning my back on trendy shops at an early age, I’ve been able to develop my own individual style, untainted by the peer pressure politics of the corporate fashion machine.
I love dressing up and I am a self-confessed style chameleon that wanders keenly from one style incarnation to the next.
I’m lucky enough to be able to take a daily plunge into my metaphorical pool of clothing and emerge in yet another quirky guise, dripping in colours, prints and fabulous textures.
Over the years I have amassed a vast and very eclectic collection of vintage-second hand attire.
The ‘Frocktasia’ concept was born out of both a desire to share my passion for vintage clothing and individual style with others and also out of sheer necessity as we are quite literally running out of space in our house because of my over-enthusiastic collecting.
At long last I'm finally yielding to hubby's desperate pleas for me to start selling stuff again.
‘Frocktasia’ will serve as a platform for me to promote my selling activities but it’s also going to be a place for general vintage and individual style-related fabulousness.
I wanted to create a name that conveyed the magic of individual style and vintage frockery.
The word itself is a mash-up of ‘frock’ and ‘fantasia’.
‘Frock’ being one of the best words in the English language in my opinion and ‘Fantasia’ the 1940’s timeless Disney classic, in which Mickey Mouse is an aspiring magician.
In the long run I’m hoping for ‘Frocktasia’ to become a place where individualists can come together and where vintage magic can happen.
What are your happiest memories of fashion as a child?
Dressing up is one of those things that make me how I am and that I’ve always enjoyed for as long as I can remember.
When I was two years old I used to don my sister's bright yellow swimming cap, prop a record sleeve on the sofa as an audience and have a good old sing-a-long and dance session if front of it.
I have two older sisters and two older brothers, so even as a young child I enjoyed a sprawling choice of wardrobe options.
I believe that this may very well be the root of my style diversity.

How did your taste for thrifting come about?
I’m from a working class background but although money was never abundant in our household I always felt well provided for, much thanks to my wonderful mum’s canny budgeting.
When mum was still a housewife back in the 70s, she used to make a lot of our clothes herself but later when she started working the majority of our clothing came from catalogues.
Up until the age of ten I was blissfully unaware of “standardized fashion” and “the trend agenda” and I would wear what I liked without experiencing any negative feedback.
However after moving to a new school in a more affluent area I was picked out for being different and endured two years of bullying.
More often than not my tormentors choose to demean me by picking on my differing, non-label based style and although I obviously suffered quite badly at the time, I now recognize that those two years also cemented my resolve to always stay true to myself and not let other people's petty opinions iron out my individuality.
For me thrifting ties in beautifully with who I am and what I stand for.
In essence I’m an individualist and I am also a staunch believer in social responsibility, so for me buying into the whole capitalist trend concept just feels plain wrong.
I love the thrill of the thrift too; there’s nothing better than unearthing a fabulous vintage frock on a rail of tired high street threads.

How has your personal style evolved during your adulthood?
For a long time I never even considered my personal style as such, I just wore what I loved, loud colours, quirky prints and unusual cuts.
It was always other people that made me aware of my style, be it with derisory or complimentary remarks.
It has to be said that I’ve never been comfortable with uniformity though and my heart sinks a little when I sit on the tube and see all those jeans-clad legs.
My eyes seek out those in a crowd who stick out like a sore thumb; the staunch style rebels, the prancing peacocks and the exuberant eccentrics; those are the people I really admire.
Even though I like to think that I’ve never been pusillanimous in my own style choices, I’m sure that I was probably less adventurous when I was younger and probably brooded more over negative remarks.
However I feel that the older I get, the more adventurous and sovereign I want to be and with any luck in twenty-odd years time I’ll be as kick-ass cool as the mature ladies featured on one of my favourite blogs: Advanced Style.

Name three items in your wardrobe you could never part with.
This is a very tricky one but I suppose it would have to be a vintage 80s blue lace trim gypsy skirt and sugar-bead detail white cotton blouse ensemble that my mum wore back in the day.
I would also dearly like to keep hold of my custom made latex Welsh guards jacket from ‘House of Harlot’ but I’ve recently decided that I will have to sell it… soon(ish).
It’s a real statement piece that cost me over £400 (I was obviously feeling VERY flush at the time) but it’s a real crime to have it stashed away cause it deserves to be admired in all its fetish glory….Lady Gaga would go gaga over this one I’m sure!

What style advice would you share with women your age?
Don’t wear a belt directly underneath your booboids, no matter what Gok Wan or Trinny and Susannah say, it looks like shit!
In fact I’d like to urge any woman regardless of age to disregard the advice of pay-rolled media style gurus; just be confident with your own choices and do your own thing.
Don’t suffer in the name of fashion; liberate yourself from pinching pants and agonising killer heels.
Don’t perpetuate the suffering of others by supporting big companies that proliferate sweatshop standards.
Look beyond the label and disregard the hype, refuse to be a cog in the relentless wheel of corporate fashion.
“You were born a sovereign original, don’t die a corporate copy”.

Isn't she just incredible?  
You can go shopping at Frocktasia's Etsy or eBay shops or organise a personal shopping experience by emailing Jen.
And if you want more, check out her vlog below and drool over her home rammed with treasures.
Look out for the 80s Madonna banner!

Do drop in and visit Jen at Frocktasia - it's always worth a visit!


  1. Dearest Desiree,
    Och, you’ve made me feel all emotional my lovely, a bit like Gwyneth Paltrow winning her Oscar ;)
    So here goes…I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to do this interview, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    You’ve done a sterling job putting it all together.
    Lot’s of love,

  2. nice interview, i like bloggers who interview other bloggers (as i am one of them!)...i will go check her out and say hi immediately!

  3. Great Job DD I have been a follower there for a short while may have even found her via your blog xxx

  4. Wow, what a cool person and I love her fashion advice!

  5. I want to go to her store
    is her etsy up yet and f so
    what name does it ggo buy so I can find her
    all the photos were great but I think I like the phone booth the most

  6. Go Jem! Brilliant interview, Desiree! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she makes a packet, having been honoured to have both spent a day with her and rummaged her wardrobes I know she is a beautiful, warm and wonderful lassie. xxx

  7. It's great that fellow bloggers promote and support each other, it's a very friendly and giving world out there among the vintage-lovin' blogs!
    Jennie is gorgeous and her style is unique - just like yours Desiree, no wonder you are kindred spirits!

  8. Excellent post! Jem is divine and I know her new venture will be a huge success.

  9. A terrific interview and I learned so much more about her.
    So glad you and she did this!
    I too believe that it's important for young women to believe in themselves and be themselves, not only with their clothing style choices but in a general way.......
    Cudo's Jem !!!
    And the best of luck to you - you will be an amazing hit!
    You rock!

  10. Go Jem and what a great post!
    I hope she does well, no-one deserves it more.xx.

    Awesome interview,she's such an intelligent,deep thinking lady with amaaaaazing style and balls!

  12. She IS incredible. I started flicking over to her blog when I saw a link a couple of weeks ago here. She always looks amazing. I love her bold and confident sense of style and sense of herself. An amazing young woman.

  13. I love Jen she is a mean fashion Mama.
    You did a great job on the interview amor.

  14. Jen puts together amazing looks. What a brilliant interview xx


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