Meet our customers and explore the individual beauty of their well-loved clothing that was ‘made to last’
Say hello to | Ben Hughes, Photographer, who met with Alex from the team at COMMON ILKE VINTAGE to talk about his love of vintage clothing, in particular his Vintage 40s era WWII Foul Weather US Navy Dungarees.
Location | Tynemouth, North East England
Instagram | @BenHughesPhoto
Website | www.benhughesphoto.com
COMMON ILKE VINTAGE - What is it you love about vintage?
Ben Hughes - What I always look for is narrative. Photography projects I do or even just capturing stuff that the kids do is just narrative, and I think that the clothing you wear or buy is the same. Coming into the store and trying to find a piece that speaks to you is part of that whole story, like stuff that’s got tears, repairs or odd stains. I’ve got a lovely jacket that’s got oil stains on it and it looks like I’ve got a dirty coat on all the time but I like that because nobody else has got that same jacket.
C I V - What is it about the dungarees you are wearing that caught your eye?
B H - They’re a very out there piece, and I would never have thought that I would wear them as much as I do, but I find myself wearing them all the time. I find any excuse to go out in them and they go with everything which is great. I don’t get precious over stuff either, I don’t mind if I get marks on it because, to be fair, I’d probably prefer that, and plus I’ve just put my own stamp on it.
I’ve had a lot of funny compliments on them, the main one being, ‘Are you going fishing’, but you know what, I don’t care because I love them. Everyone should just wear what the hell they want at the end of the day. I think with vintage there is something that always breaks you in, you get the opportunity to find that one first piece that might be a little bit garish or off-piste from what you’d normally wear. But after that, and after the first few funny comments you might get back, you learn to brush that all off and from there you just fully go into buying vintage that appeals to you.
C I V - How do you style the dungarees?
B H - Not consciously but I think I’ve ended up with a wardrobe that is all green! So, I try to break things up with a blue worker or an orange T-shirt or a more colourful pair of trainers rather than a pair of Red Wing boots that I tend to wear all the time. You can throw them on when you're in a rush and I’ve got some versatile pieces to layer with that I’ll dress the dungarees up with.
C I V – Clothing that is made to last - what does it mean to you?
B H - Everything has slowed down a bit, everything seems a bit more considered, and it’s partly why I love film photography. You can’t just go out there and shoot 100 shots and hope that one of them is good, you have to slow down your process, and you could probably say the same when shopping for clothes as well. Rather than buying 10 t-shirts for the price of one really well made one, you might take the time to consider what you’re buying. You might even take the time to pick something that fits into your current wardrobe instead of buying a whole new wardrobe in a cheaper shop.
And I don’t know why or where it comes from but it’s always just been engrained in me to appreciate the old. It’s the same when it comes to my photography. I choose to shoot with film over digital, and even when it comes to cars, I favour the classics. And if I could drive any car, it would probably be an old Defender or an old Mustang. I even get the kids wearing vintage clothes all the time, and again, I don’t know where it comes from but I just favour old stuff over new, particularly stuff that is made to last.
I think even looking back at old photos or old family photos I always think the clothes look amazing and even the haircuts. And sometimes the photos aren’t technically great photos but they capture a time and the vintage clothes you sell in the store do the same. They reflect a time period and that also goes for the branded stuff that will one day take their place.
Now more than ever so many of us are looking past fast fashion and instead considering buying vintage and quality heritage clothing that is ‘made to last’.
Check out our latest in vintage and branded military kit here
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