LONDON: Based between Riyadh and New York, Rae Joseph is a Saudi lawyer and style guru who is doing her bit to promote vintage fashion in the region.
It all started on a summer’s day in New York in 2003, when Rae found herself in a café while taking a break from a shopping trip. Rae, along with her sisters, sat next to a sharply dressed older gentleman who eventually introduced himself as the owner of a of a private showroom specialising in vintage fashion.
Rae’s interest was sparked when she entered the showroom to find treasures by the likes of Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Chanel.
Almost 15 years of her first encounter with vintage fashion, Rae decided to establish her own fashion house called 1954 by Rae Joseph, which lists items for sale in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf, in 2017.
“From an artistic point of view, owning a vintage piece is like owning a piece of history, a piece of art. The pieces carry stories and I find that fascinating,” Joseph told Arab News.
“Vintage pieces were made in a time where quality and craftsmanship were key, so the materials used and methods of manufacturing were of a quality that no longer exists in today’s mass market. From an environmental point of view, wearing vintage is one of the most sustainable options,” she added.
The online shopping platform offers pieces by a select range of design houses, including Celine, Prada, Cartier and Fendi, among others.
Handbags, chic scarves and jewelry items are listed alongside their price in dollars and Saudi riyals, as well as a short description of the piece. A gallery of detailed photos show the condition of the item, including close up shots of the stitching and links in some cases.
“The pieces are carefully curated from top vintage showrooms around the world, primarily in New York and Europe, many of which cater to Hollywood red carpets and leading fashion magazines,” the entrepreneur said.
But how has the idea been received by potential clients in the Gulf?
“There are people who have always loved and shopped vintage in Europe and the US. Usually those people are extremely excited to see there is a local brand that curates high quality vintage (items) in the region. The other category are people who may have heard of vintage, but don’t necessarily understand what it really means,” she said.
According to the fashion guru, vintage pieces are ideal for a woman “who is unique, has a strong sense of personal style and someone who appreciates art and is open to mixing different styles and trends to create her own independent look.”