- Tower Hamlets
I meet Naomi Thompson, the girl behind the rampantly successful fashion blog Vintage Secret, down an alley off Brick Lane in what appears to be corner of a forgotten era. Surrounded by flapper dresses and vintage silks of the highest quality, I’m afforded a sneak peek into the world Naomi inhabits.
For this is a lady with a reputation far beyond her mere thirty years. Hailed by no less than UK Vogue’s What’s Hot list, Naomi is a personal shopper and stylist specialising in vintage clothing. She’s not a clothing historian, she says: “There’s plenty of people out there who have far more knowledge than I. But I do know how to put together a good outfit.”
We are in one of her favourite places, the Vintage Emporium, which happens to have a tea parlour serving some delightful treats. This is where she begins her investigation to find out more about my own style and attempt to find me something vintage.
I ask where her she thinks her talents came from. “Not wanting to wear high street clothes and being a bit bored of looking like everyone else.” After deciphering my style over tea and cake we hit Brick Lane for some retail therapy, and this is where Naomi comes into her own.
What is it about the East End that attracts her? “I really enjoyed the laissez-faire attitude, that people wear what they want and it’s really appreciated as opposed to being mocked. Brick Lane has some of the best shops in the world. That’s why I do my personal shopping here and nowhere else.”
(This coming from a girl who’s been around the block a bit, having lived in Japan, Paris, Spain and just returned from New York.) “The most unique fashion and style I’ve ever seen has been in east London.”
At another of her hangouts, Hunky Dory, we peruse the rails for something special. At the top of Brick Lane is this treasure trove of postwar men and women’s clothing. Naomi is in her element, pulling out a multitude of dresses for me to try on while having a catch up with the owner. She is a shopkeeper’s dream.
Her talent for shopping and styling has seen her featured on TV and print, had her own book published Style Me Vintage, and most recently been involved in charity fundraising with style queen Mary Portas. She says: “It was one my proudest moments. The evening was fantastic and we raised lots of money for the charity Save The Children.”
We head to Beyond Retro, a vintage store brimming full of interesting outfits. It’s overwhelming, but Naomi doesn’t let it faze her; she’s straight to the rails, flicking through the dresses at breakneck speed. Ten minutes later she’s picked out a couple of beautiful dresses, one forties swing dress and another 50s cocktail dress. I instantly want them all.
For Naomi, seeing people enjoy what she can do for them and giving them options outside the high street is what makes her tick. As I head down Brick Lane laden with shopping bags, I know exactly why.
For more information, contact Naomi via her website.