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Etsy-based Oldsowhat sells luxury vintage clothing, bags and accessories from the vast personal collection of TVC producer Ace Tan
 

 

This online store (www.etsy.com/shop/oldsowhat), which started two years ago, is something of an anomaly in the vast craft and curio chambers of Etsy. It’s a rare, locally-based business where clothing dating back to the Victorian era is listed alongside ’60s Christian Dior lace-up leather gloves and, ’80s Givenchy jewel-tone skirt suits, and ’60s to ’90s Chanel, Hermes and Celine leather goods. It even has Russian pilot goggles from WWII.

The site’s founder, Ace Tan, 43 (“Madam Old” to her customers) has been growing her collection for more than 20 years. But the reason why she adores all kinds of vintage designer fashion and brands has evolved.

 

Photo: Frenchescar Lim

 

When she started, her day job in TV commercial production allowed her to spend stretches of time in France, Japan and Spain, where she frequently visited flea markets for “unwanted off-season clothing and accessories”. These are now treasured and considered vintage, and she has come to love them for their originality and superb workmanship.

Through her experience, Tan is able to recognise brands and designers without checking tags. “Brands change creative directors very frequently these days, but their styles were very distinct in the past, especially those like Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier.”

 

Photo: Frenchescar Lim

 

She can also easily tell if an item is authentic just by touch - like a vintage whisperer. For pricier pieces though, such as from Hermes, she consults a recognised online authenticator like Carol Diva to be doubly sure.

Her collection numbers more than 800 pieces and is still growing - her relationship with overseas store owners ensures that the best stuff is set aside for her.

To keep them in the best condition, clothes are always folded, stacked with a layer of tissue paper between the pieces, and kept in storage boxes, never in plastic. Bags are sunned occasionally, wiped with a 100 per cent cotton cloth, and always stuffed with tissue to maintain their shape.

 

Photo: Frenchescar Lim

 

Every purchase from Oldsowhat comes with a 14-day no-questions-asked refund policy and a care card for maintenance. Prices range from $89 for a skirt to $15,887 for an Hermes Kelly.

 

This story was first published in the August 2018 issue of Her World magazine.

Photography: Frenchescar Lim

Videography: Tan Kai Lin 

Styling: Bryan Goh

Hair and makeup: Angel Gwee, using Chanel and Kevin.Murphy

Location: Pomelo Home