This Manchester Designer Is Upcycling Neglected Vintage Gems

White Mary Vintage is the 70s time machine we didn’t know we needed.

There’s nothing quite like a rummage through a rail full of one-of-a-kind vintage pieces

If you’ve been into fashion from a young age, it’s probably up there as one of your favourite pastimes. 

Scouring the shelves of a local charity shop, or taking a Saturday stroll into the city to arm yourself with a Mohair cardie covered in palm trees and a collection of berets matching every colour of the rainbow is a truly unexplainable feeling. 

This was the exact ritual of Bee Whittaker, full-time thrifting boss lady and owner of brand-new circular fashion label, White Mary Vintage

Northern Thrifting Culture 

Growing up in the North West, Bee was inundated with vintage caves to explore that were full of corduroy trousers and oversized blazers detailed with mismatched buttons, exactly like the ones found at the bottom of your Grannie’s golden antique candle holder. 

She was always drawn to the irregularities of fashion, making a conscious effort to step outside of the box and experiment with the garments she adorned. “There was just something about vintage that clicked with me,” Bee explained.

“I think it was the fact that every single vintage piece was original, there was only one of it and that was really appealing. I was always trying to push the boat with how I dressed and I guess I was curious, too. I just didn’t understand why people were giving away these incredible pieces from their wardrobes!”

White Mary Vintage only began its journey last month, but the label has already made an impact, embodying everything exciting about sustainable, vintage fashion

Repurposed Fashion for a Greener Future

It’s a circular fashion label, which means that it redesigns and repurposes pre-loved clothes creating unique pieces for fashion lovers and rule-breakers, especially those that are planet conscious. 

“I’ve always tried to be sustainable, even from a young age. I remember putting up recycling posters around the local neighbourhood and encouraging my friends and family to do the same,” Bee furthered.

“People are realising now more than ever that the climate crisis is real and we can’t escape it, but choosing to move away from fast fashion and buy more sustainably is an instant easy choice an individual can make. 

“This can collectively make a big difference, just like choosing to consume less animal products or choosing to cycle rather than drive.”

A subconsciously sustainable mind from youth has also meant that White Mary Vintage is a brand made to be countlessly reworn and reimagined. 

After working in the world of fast fashion, Bee was exposed to the shocking disparities between those at the top and those at the bottom, usually the ones producing the garments. This led her to abandon her career and focus more on vintage retail.

Her extensive knowledge of vintage fashion has meant that each White Mary Vintage piece is unique, from her halterneck shirts to the arm dressers and ties that have been embroidered with dainty hearts and floral patterns, creating the perfect statement piece to revive any lifeless outfit. 

Her first collection focuses on 70s shirts, which she has transformed into separate items that will no doubt become a staple of your summer wardrobe. Her next collection will add elasticated cuffs to the sleeves and waist of the shirts, creating flattering pieces perfect for Spring!

“The most exciting thing about working with vintage is that you have no idea what’s going to start trending next, which means that the label can be quite flexible and doesn’t have to fit a certain aesthetic.

“There are so many pieces I own that I know I’ll take to the grave with me, and I really want White Mary Vintage to have this same effect on anyone who wears it.”

Bee works closely within a small team of just 2 other seamstresses that hand make her designs. She is also currently looking for another seamstress to join her, so if that’s your forte, you can reach her on hello@whitemaryvintage.com.

You can check out White Mary Vintage’s full collection by following the link below.

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Shop White Mary Vintage

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