Repurposing, reusing and recycling is the key when it comes to sustainable fashion, and the vintage era is something I hold in high esteem. The world’s most coveted labels have always looked to the past for inspiration, and fashion icons, bloggers and celebrities are constantly snapped wearing authentic vintage and vintage-inspired pieces. In particular, the sixties and seventies were some of the finest years for fashion, but with the capitalisation on vintage and antique wears, the supply of quality, used vintage clothing has dried up.
Solving the conundrum, Nine Lives Bazaar answers this directive with truly vintage-influenced pieces, creating items that loudly reference the joyful vibe of the seventies. Rose Maria Sadleir is one-half of the Australian label Nine Lives Bazaar, which she Co-Founded with Vanessa Satchwell in 2012 after noticing the dwindling supply of good vintage pieces in op-shops around their local area. “Up until about five years ago, there used to be so much gold lurking in the racks of your nearest Salvos. They say that the best business ideas occur when you find a unique solution to a problem, which for us, was that there wasn’t enough vintage gold to go around.”
The latest Nine Lives Bazaar collection, This Golden Romance, features prints that almost seem directly out of a seventies photo album. “It’s very much a nod to the 1970s, but this time, everything fits a little better.”
For Rose, the inspiration comes from vintage and bespoke items that remain unique in a market with growing uniformity. “Mass produced fashion is a sad reality of this era. Why would anyone want to dress the same anyway? Timeless fashion is what floats our boat. We called our brand Nine Lives Bazaar because that’s exactly what we want our products to have; more than one life.”
There’s a real emphasis on well-made pieces that are durable in both physical wear and the passing trends too. “Quality vintage stands the test of time and that’s exactly how we approach our new collections.”
And it’s true – while The Golden Romance distinctly addresses the seventies genre, there is no way Nine Lives Bazaar could be pinned down in one of the many trends that have come and gone in the past five years, a trademark of cool style. Rose values the importance of garments that aren’t saturated across the market, and it is important for Nine Lives Bazaar consumers to know where their purchases are coming from. Rose also loves the wonderful idea of the heirloom, a timeless, well-made garment that can be passed through the family as a truly special piece.
But it hasn’t all been a dreamland for the brand and its business duo. Both Vanessa and Rose began with no experience in the industry, and often felt like they were stumbling through the dark. “Our lack of experience was our biggest hardship. In the beginning it was a lot of trial and error. We had to ask a lot of questions and rely on the help of whatever contacts we had on hand. It’s also difficult investing all this time and just patiently waiting for lift off.”
For Rose and Vanessa, the first twelve months of their business was definitely the hardest, but the pair are grateful for their extended circle of friends and family, who have been and remain their greatest supporters to date. Through friends and family connections, they networked their way to more contacts. Tapping into this extended circle for their Nine Lives Bazaar marketing, Rose and Vanessa created what they call their ‘commune’, a name for their online supporters and customers who help Nine Lives Bazaar move from strength to strength.
When it’s not all business facts and figures, Rose and Vanessa love the ocean, and try to spend as much time as possible in close proximity to it. Surfing, camping and long weekend getaways are how the girls unwind, alongside the occasional op-shop fossick. It’s with their aforementioned commune though, that the girls feel most at home. “We have a really special group of friends. Summer barbeques, late-night dance floor sessions and crazy dress-up parties are usually on the agenda.”
Rose herself seems to have been born with a love for the outdoors and for creating her own fun, travelling much in her younger years, from the remote Northern Territory to a boarding school in Brisbane. With her feet on the ground now, Rose wants to look to the future. “We would love to open our own shopfront, but realistically that might not be for another year or so. We’ll instead focus on our community for the time being; welcoming and connecting with new customers on a personal level is what we love. If you’re a fan of bygone eras, then Nine Lives Bazaar is going to be a brand you are naturally drawn to. We are all about expressing your personality through the way that you dress.”
Aside from the true affordability of their items (the most expensive garment being a vibrant and wonderful jumpsuit for $99), the latest collection is small and intimate, creating a real sense of specialness around the pieces. With only a limited run collection produced, each piece is something really special, heartfelt, and rare. The prints are what get me the most though; both unique and instantly recognisable, they lift every outfit to a new level and salute to one of the most influential fashion eras of our time.
The Fashion Advocate x