Instant vintage – hoard of 70s clothing found
Thousands of unworn garments discovered in a Glasgow warehouse
Sunday 21 March 2010
The treasure trove lay undisturbed for the best part of a generation. When the works were lovingly stored by their owner, the internet was a far-off idea, footballers were not overpaid and didn't have mobile phones. About 10,000 items of unworn 1970s clothing – from classic brown cords to vintage Levi's and denim waistcoats – were left untouched for decades. Now the extraordinary haul will delight fashion historians and vintage fans keen to get their hands on original styles in mint condition.
The clothes were found in a Glasgow warehouse by 35-year-old web designer Bali Rakhra, whose father had stored them there after he closed his fashion business in the early 1980s. "My dad remembered the clothes were there, but thought that fashion had changed so much that they wouldn't be worth anything, so he just left them there," said Mr Rakhra. "I found them a few weeks ago." The garments are thought to be in near-perfect condition, having been wrapped in plastic and boxed, and are estimated to be worth in the region of £200,000.
"There has been a lot of interest in them. I've no idea how long it's going to take me to sell them," said Mr Rakhra. "From my father's point of view it has opened his eyes to the fashion world."
The son of a tailor, Nahar Rakhra, 83, moved to the UK from India in the 1940s. He set up a business manufacturing clothes for brands such as Marks & Spencer, but was squeezed out by big high-street shops.
"I haven't come across anything on this scale before. Ten thousand pieces is amazing," said Rosemary Harden, manager of the Bath Fashion Museum. "It is good that it is high street rather than all that I Love the 70s stuff, as if all we wore were tank tops and platform boots. This offers a more real picture."
Fashion historians might be delighted by the find, but some feel that 1970s fashions are best forgotten. "I don't think that the 1970s were the most exciting decade in fashion. In fact, some of it was verging on the hideous," said Lucinda Chambers, fashion director of Vogue. "The designers in the 1970s were wonderful, but what was on the high street wasn't that desirable."
The continuing popularity of vintage clothing means that the finds are quickly being snapped up. Mr Rakhra will be selling most of the clothes – which range from £15 for a cardigan to £70 for classic Levi's – via his website, while a small selection will be sold at retailers, and at the Affordable Vintage Fashion Fair at Edinburgh University today.
"There will be a market for it. The value of vintage is that no one else will have it," said Ms Chambers.
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