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Saving the world one dress at a time.

I’ve shopped this year, oh yes I have. Trekking from one side of the Tasman to the other, up and down the country and also half way around the world. I worry at times about my “product miles” but shopping is my passion and retailing is my life’s mission, so what’s a girl to do?

Imagine my total delight when on a girl’s weekend in Auckland I was introduced to the incredible experience that is Smoove Reworked Vintage. (Thank you Nikki McGeown-Horne).

This is a full on sensory experience. At any point in time this gorgeous store has 2,000 individual, unique pieces (primarily dresses) with a twist. Many of these have traveled halfway around the world from the likes of Japan and Cambodia. Vintage 50’s and 60’s styles and everything is just so damn pretty with racks upon racks of up-cycled vintage prints and colours, no two the same.

These reclaimed dressed are sent to Thailand to be reworked before they make their way to Auckland, where the dresses are updated; sleeves adjusted, hems shortened or slips inserted retaining the structure of the dress but modernising the style for today’s shopper.

Feminine, girly, classic yet creative, sustainable and good. But it’s not just the dresses stocked in sizes of Small, Medium and Large (and every dress can have a different fit – no vanity sizing here, you just finds one that fits you well) it is the immersion in the shopping experience that is delightful.

We spent well over an hour here listening to fabulous music, mooching on the chairs while we tried on more and more, swapping over belts, flirting with fun and individual jewellery, oohing and ahhing over more and more wonderful finds and actually finding it really hard to stop. So much so we have penciled a monthly “meet in town for lunch” event in the diary.

The change rooms are a sight to behold with old fashion phones crafted into hanging hooks. A coffee table holds pride of place in the mooching area laden with curiosities of the past that transport you back to your youth; classic toys like a viewmaster and labyrinth game maze. The nooks and crannies are filled with pottery coffee cups, crystal-cut & lead glassware and those leather tooled handbags that your mum had and you wish now you had kept rather than putting into the care bin.

You are transported to a different time and place and are completely lost in it.

For me this is a unique retail experience to be savoured, and often. The pricing is clear, simple and reasonable with a “2 for” price which makes buying an easier decision, as it is hard to narrow styles down.

The up cycling component of your purchase is a bonus really. You feel great that you are doing good; from the industry and craftspeople this is supporting in Thailand reworking the garment, to the salvage of a beautiful dress that could be lost to rags or landfill. However for me, the real seduction is the transportation to another time, pondering who the previous owner was, how she lived, is something remarkable and memorable.

And next year I will be shopping some more, oh yes I will.

Smoove Reworked Vintage, arcade, 55-57 Little High Street, Auckland or find them on Facebook .

A word for new players

(1) Set aside at least an hour to visit this store, it will go in a heartbeat. It’s hard to know when to stop. (2) A stretchy belt is key. The store stock many that you can mix and match but make sure you take one into the change-room when you start as it recreates the dress beautifully. (3) Perhaps in an attempt to be truly authentic to the 50’s, the area down near the change-rooms is stifling hot. They have big fans but it would serve them well to get some air-conditioning as after trying on 20+ dresses, you can work up quite a glow which is not so attractive. (4) If you are paying by eftpos they actually drag you across the arcade to their other store Smoove which is a little different (band t-shirts, gothic and punk fashion, dresses with not much fabric, earrings, leather jackets, belts, bags). The owner would do well to invest in mobile eftpos to improve the shopping experience. There were loads of people waiting to be served.

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