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A LIFE OF VINTAGE STYLE

by Insiders Dunedin

Tannia Lee is a prominent fixture amongst Dunedin's vintage fashion scene and with many skills and talents, I was curious to find out more...

1. Where are you originally from?I’m no stranger to Dunedin, having spent a small part of my childhood here, but I really grew up in Hamilton. After finishing my BMA in 2003 my husband and I (both creatives) moved to Wellington to find work. We lived 6 amazing years in Wellington before moving to Dunedin, which is quite similar in ways.

2. Why did you move here? What did you do before you came here?My IT geek husband was offered a cool job down here and we thought we’d grab the opportunity and also catch up with the southerrrn family. Wellington is a beautiful and creative place to live, but difficult to save money because we discovered you really ‘pay’ for that amazing lifestyle.

3. What's your background, did you study?After high school I jumped into a Fashion Design and Industrial Apparel course. Although the Idea of making clothes was really fun, actually sewing them wasn’t! I found I was more of a designer than constructor. The course got me into WINTEC, where I changed paths studying a Bachelor of Media Arts.

4. What do you do fashion-wise at the moment? How long have you been styling and when did you start Most Wanted?Most Wanted Vintage began when we moved into a cute character shop in the colourful community of Aro Valley in 2010. I think this is where I started styling people without even realising that’s what I was doing. Working in retail you naturally just help people find and try on outfits and I soon realised that I had a skill. My favourite ‘styling’ job was dressing my window mannequins Frankie and Tommy. I made sure they were always in matching stand out, conversational pieces that would lure people into the shop and hopefully encourage people to dress outside the box. Currently I am sourcing stock for our online shop and markets around Dunedin.  I noticed there were not enough vintage markets in Dunedin, so this year I designed “The Vintage Roundup” a market that brings together the very best of Dunedin’s vintage clothing scene. I wanted to create an event where vintage lovers can hunt for treasures with all of their fave vintage clothing shops, online sellers and collectors all under one roof. I am also photographing street style and my own looks for Little Death street fashion blog and for my own blog on my website:www.mostwantedvintage.co.nz

 5. Why did you choose fashion as a career? What drew you to it? Since I was 14 my happy place was always op shops and vintage clothing shops. I loved dressing up and finding treasures from previous decades that no-one had never seen before. I had already been collecting 80s ball dresses for years, and maybe unconsciously I knew that the vintage fashion industry is where I would end up.

6. What's involved with your styling? e.g. who have you worked for etc?Styling vintage and pre-loved clothing is a real art. Each item is one off, which means no other colours, sizes or cuts to choose from. I usually pick a feature piece and build an outfit from that. Most of my styling has been for Most Wanted Vintage, styling customers, the mannequins window outfits, fashion shows, lookbooks, website outfits and photoshoots for promotional material like posters, fliers and business cards.As far as other clients go, I have styled a shoot with Miss Dom and photographer David James for Print magazine. Project Bloom, a fashion photo shoot experience for teens and for Astro Childrens latest music video.

7. How would you describe your own personal style?My own personal style is like a Chameleon. I’m constantly inspired by ever changing fashions, street fashion and vintage. I like to mix up decades with on-trend ideas. I’m never one genre but many, as the fun of fashion is trying new things all the time. At the moment I’m obsessed with chunky knee length cardis, which you will see featured on my stylist page and blog this winter.

8. As far as styling goes, what are your aspirations for that? I’d love to style more music videos, vintage clothing window displays, fashion shows and collaborate on photo shoots to promote other creative industries like hair stylists, makeup artists etc.

9. Do you plan on opening a Most Wanted Vintage store or will you continue online and at markets? It’s not likely that we will open another shop in Dunedin, but will definitely continue to sell online and have a physical presence at markets, pop up shops and fairs. We found that rent can really eat up a small businesses during these tougher times.  

10. What do you enjoy most about living in Dunedin?The fresh air, the views, friendly people, creative people, family, the relaxed pace, smaller population, the art, exhibition openings, and of course the op shops. It’s no secret that Dunedin is a freakin gold mine.

Image from Most Wanted Vintage website.

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St Style from Most Wanted Vintage.

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Editorial shot for Most Wanted Vintage.

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Tannia in one of her vintage styled outfits.

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 Tannia with husband Dylan.

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Post Submitted by Amy Parsons-King

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