Monday, 23 November 2015

Vintage Girl Gang - Jill from Alfie Robot Retro

Girl Gang Monday is one of the favourite parts of my life, right now. Highlighting the lives of strong girls in the vintage scene who influence and inspire me.

So. next up for the offering is Jill, from Alfie Robot Retro.

I first met Jill in December 2014, at my first Loulou's Vintage Fair in Sheffield. I had StanleyPigeon with me as I was still breastfeeding. Jill was right next to me and we spent most of the day talking babies.

We hit it off straight away, but I recognised Jill's husband, Jim, and it was annoying me. It took me a long time to realise who he was. He was Jim, the famous JIM from Viking FM's Rosie and Jim! JIM! It turned out Jim is the biggest fan of our local football team, Scunthorpe United. Not only their biggest fan, but also their Pitch Announcer... No, I don't know what that is either.

After more nattering, I remembered meeting Jill before. Many moons ago at the first fair I took Mr P too, Jill was "selling up everything", because she'd just found out she was having her gorgeous baby, Elsa... So much for "selling up everything" (three years later).  This is much how Pigeon Vintage started out.

Ace! We already had history and tonnes in common; tiny babes, Scunthorpe United, retro, vintage and Jill was pretty blooming cool.


Let's get to know her a little better, then:

When and how did you get into vintage?
I grew up in Chesterfield – a Derbyshire town with a fantastic flea market every Thursday so I was interested in vintage from being a teen in the early 90s. Also my Mum never throws anything away and she’s passed on loads of her old clothes including some made my wonderful late Grandmother.
I got super into vintage in 2009 when we moved north and we finally had space to fill a house with vintage.
I choose vintage to wear and use at home because I just love 60s/70s design. Anything with a garish print preferably in orange and brown I just love. I also like thinking about the history of an item and wondering who wore or used it before.

Do you remember your first vintage purchase? 
I think my first vintage buy was a maroon velvet jacket back in 1993 from Chesterfield flea market. Sadly I don't still have it but I remember loving it and wearing it loads of Britpop gigs throughout the 90s.

What’s your most memorable vintage purchase and why?
Oooo that's hard there has been so many. I think probably our kitchen is the most memorable vintage purchase – when we moved into our house there was a hideous 90s kitchen and we were keen to find something more to our taste. We found an incredible blue formica kitchen on ebay and got a real bargain. The 3 journeys we made to a tiny Dales village to collect it were worth it I think.

Why would you choose a vintage outfit over a high street?
The patterns and cut of vintage clothing just cant be beaten for me. Also you aren’t gonna look the same as everyone else although I often team up vintage with a bit of high street, for me it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I love simple dresses in bright patterns like this one made my dear Grandma.

Where do you shop?
I am always on the look out for vintage, my poor toddler gets dragged all over so I can rummage. I love car boots, charity shops and I’m terrible for buying from other traders during down times at fairs – The Queens Drawers always tempt me with their ace 60s dresses – this is my most recent polyester purchase. I am also a fan of Topshop.

How did you get into trading in vintage?
I moved to near Leeds with my then boyfriend in 2009 and we started going to a few vintage fairs and thought Id love to give it a go. My first fair was in Chapel Allerton in Leeds organized by the lovely Rayon Rose and since then I must have done close to 100 fairs I reckon including ones in Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Birmingham, Scarborough & Hull. It's been scary but I’ve enjoyed organizing 3 of my own and my dead excited about helping Pigeon Vintage with An Indie Kinda Christmas next weekend.

What are the best and worst things about doing what you do?
Best things are seeing someone love an item you’ve found, whether that be a porcelain cat or a slouchy jumper. 
Vintage trading works really well round life with a toddler and allows me to spend a large part of my week with her as I can work weekends when my husband can parent. I also love that I get days out surrounded by lovely people and vintage loveliness. I like a good natter and slice of cake.
Worst – load ins that involve endless stairs! A few fairs I’ve done when it’s obvious the organizer hasn't done any promotion, these are rare. Oh and how heavy Hornsea pottery is!

Who's your vintage muse?
I like how Dawn Porter has really spread the word of vintage fashion into the mainstream and I enjoyed her TV show.

As far as organizing my own fairs (I ran 2 in Ilkley and one in my village- Burley In Wharfedale this year) then the super lovely Caroline Brown at Rose & Brown Vintage kindly shared her fair organizing expertise with me. Caroline has been holding fairs in Saltaire for 8 years now and also runs fairs in Whitby.

And I’m not sucking up but Hayley from Pigeon Vintage (*blush*) inspired me to try Instagram and since then I’ve built up an ace following of over 1200 on there and sell quite a lot this way.
Oh and my Mum for just keeping everything – when we first started doing fairs she found 120 pairs of polyester mens psychedelic pattern Y fronts in her attic which sold out quickly!

New recruit? For sure!

How cool is Jill? She's the coolest. She's a roller derby girl n all! Major cool points and hugely beneficial to Pigeon Vintage Girl Gang, in case we need someone in roller skates to kick some ass!

Jill Robot, you blow my mind in your brilliance to travel far and wide and remain one of the truest and most dedicated mums I know. Pigeon Vintage Girl Gang, is blessed to have you. Wear your red lipstick stripes with pride, you badass, you!

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