Hi, my name is Rebecca and I started the shop in 2006, originally as VENUS VINTAGE in Nailsworth, and then moving to Stroud and opening STRANGENESS and CHARM in 2008.

I have had a life long passion for all things vintage, which began with my childhood enthusiasm for playing dress up. Where as most little girls experimented by clomping around in mums shoes I insisted in being taken on dedicated trips to the local jumble sale and would wear my acquisitions all day and every day. A family joke was that even aged 8 I would prefer to wear couture. Despite no formal knowledge of designer labels my jumble sale selections were always of the highest quality.

 

There was a brief period when I wanted new clothes, from 11 to 13 but by aged 14 punk had exploded and I was in full anti-fashion mode, wearing fluorescent 60s mini dresses and insisting on donning a mans 1940s 3 piece grey flannel suit to school. It was almost uniform…..

 

Because I am a creative dresser, I thoroughly enjoyed the early 80’s. I was back playing dress up full time. Even in my first office job I wore cute little 40s & 50s blouses with a pencil skirt and tailored jackets. At weekends, ball gowns - on a day function.

 

By this time I was living in London W11, just off Portobello Road and able to indulge my passion for rummaging while on my way out for breakfast. One of the many things I loved about living in that particular neighbourhood was that you could wear what you liked without anyone batting an eye. I would also sell my cast offs at the market from time to time and discovered how much I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of dealing.

 

Over the years, I have done a bonkers array of jobs, including in the news room at the BBC (radio), at a talent agency booking bands, as a freelance graphic designer, art director and stylist for record labels and fashion companies. I was contributor at a fledgling Dazed and Confused Magazine and briefly worked as a production buyer and costume designer for musical theatre. I have promoted clubs (Night of the Living Ultra Vixens under the name Bunny Vixen) worked as a D.J (biggest gig Brixton Academy), I even produced and directed a pop video.

 

In 1998 I moved here to Gloucestershire and started SALVAGE, my own eco fashion label. But, the constant has always been my love of vintage fashion.

 

I still get just as excited setting off on a buying trip as I did as an eight year old waiting in a jumble sale queue. The budget may have risen from my half a crown pocket money but the thrill is the same. I am still finding things that delight me. The infinite variety of prints, textures and styles, I am still fascinated and still learning.

 

I wanted to start a business that honoured my concerns about climate change and the use of child/slave labour to produce new clothes. Combining my interest in recycling and reducing consumption and my belief in the importance of clothing as adornment, which I believe the be a primal need for self expression.

I want a business that treads gently on the earth, while still being able to indulge in frivolity.