My Vintage London: Irma Romero - vintage dressmaker
The Vintage Guide to London: Who are you, and what do you do?
Irma Romero: I’m a vintage dressmaker and art deco gal at heart. Though originally hailing from Spain and Finland, I now consider London as my second or (third) home. I run The Vintage Dressmaker and specialise in Twenties to Forties designs and bespoke styles using vintage patterns and old magazines, books and photos as a source of inspiration. Sometimes actual reproductions, sometimes taking images or patterns and using them as a base and adding my own touch.
Whenever I’m travelling within the UK or abroad I tend to buy vintage fabrics and vintage trims such as buckles, buttons etc and always using these as a nice detail in all my creations. I find that sometimes a beautiful buckle or button can completely drive you to make a certain kind of a design or inspire you in a special way. It’s not always the fabric or design that dictates it, sometimes it goes the other way around and a simple trimming will end up being the It-factor. I also have an extensive collection of vintage clothes that I use for base and inspiration (when not wearing them!).
The Vintage Guide to London: Why do you like vintage – or in other words, what does vintage mean to you?
Irma Romero: My interest in vintage comes from way back, I have always been fascinated with the history of fashion, and the Twenties being very close to my heart as long as I can remember. My very idols are Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, Claudette Colbert. These ladies represented the fun, dangerous, mystical and the sexy quality of the era. Vintage is therefore something that also represents all things from bygone eras just perfectly. I cannot praise enough the beautiful cuts, the detailed patterns, the femininity, the beautiful and sometimes very unusual fabrics and generally just all styling of these intriguing eras.
What fascinates me about vintage is its timelessness, and the quality of the clothes, that still after 70 or 80 years are in amazing, wearable condition. Vintage as a concept in this throw-away, consumerist culture, is just something to embrace – and talk about recycling! I can’t get over the detailing and all the hand-finished details, especially vintage knitwear. It’s just beyond words to describe how the very intricate patterns were made into casual wear and the how anything created these days does not match in any way what was produced back then.
In other words, no question that people had style in those times and lots of imagination, even with certain basic silhouettes, it was all in the detailing, trimmings and fabrics. The whole war-time era has me completely in awe on how people would be so inventive and were able to create some iconic shapes and pieces of clothing even in the sparsest of times. Admirable really.
The Vintage Guide to London: What are your favourite London vintage shops?
Irma Romero: My favourite vintage shops in London are Alfies in Marylebone, the shops on Camden Passage in Islington and a few others scattered around, though I tend to prefer fairs and also am an avid Etsy.com and eBay fan for all things vintage.