Meet Tannia Lee

by Insiders Dunedin

We met Tannia Lee at her home in Roslyn. Tannia wears a number of hats. She runs NZ online clothing store 'Most Wanted Vintage'. Tannia also runs her own fashion blog called Tannicorn Styles It where she styles and photographs her own outfits, where she promotes the local vintage clothing and secondhand stores, crafters and designers that she wears. Tannia shoots street style around Dunedin and captures any cool events within the vintage clothing and fashion scene. She has been part of ID Dunedin Fashion Week Media for two years shooting what people are wearing to the events and around the city. To top it all off she has also created and runs The Vintage Roundup, a vintage clothing and craft market in Dunedin every 3 months. 

Tannia's 1960s home is like stepping back in time. The place is untouched. Pristine wallpaper covers all the walls and boasts magnificent views overlooking the city. A selection of retro light shades are pride of place in a number of rooms. A downstairs garage is divided in two, one part serves as musician Dylan's man den the other store's all over Most Wanted's stock. The home is warm and inviting and reminiscent of New Zealand of old. Tannia is beautifully dressed in all vintage and second hand New Zealand designer clothing. Tannia tells of a near horror story. When the agent was showing the couple through the house they noticed paint test pots in the kitchen. The agent said the landlords were considering painting over the wallpaper to modernise the place. This was sacrilege in the eyes of Tannia and her husband Dylan, and asked the agent to pass onto the landlords that we were really keen to keep the place 'as it' and to please not paint over while we are here.

Tannia spent a number of years in Dunedin while growing up. Her Mother would often take her op-shopping an experience she describes as one of her favourite activities as a child. "I've always loved dressing up! I grew up with a huge dress up box full of the family's old 70s and 80s clothing. When friends and family came around, we would raid the box and play around the farm dressed up all crazy." Being exposed to an eclectic range of clothes and objects from a young age sparked her fascination with everything vintage. Tannia still likes to incorporate this fun into my everyday life, experimenting with fashion and dressing outside the box. 

Tannia has spent time as a stylist in the past, since moving to Dunedin she has focused her skills on styling herself and home for her blog. Each Sunday she puts together a new outfit on her blog and during the week she'll go shopping at a number of Dunedin's op shops. 

Most Wanted Vintage began in 2010 when Tannia moved to Wellington after finishing her Bachelor of Media Arts degree where she worked in the film industry as a video editor.  After several years in that industry, Tannia decided she needed a change. She chose to follow her passion for op-shopping and began buying, collating  and curating garments for other people to purchase. Upon the realisation that this skill could develop into a full-time business, Most Wanted Vintage was born. Tannia opened a shop in Wellington's Aro Valley and ran this for two years. Dylan got a job in Dunedin, so the couple moved South and continued to run the boutique as an online store from their home. 

Visiting Dunedin's op-shops is now an almost daily activity for Tannia. She has certain shops that she likes to support such as the hospices and vintage clothing stores that are now beginning fewer and fewer. Primarily the Most Wanted Vintage has become about sourcing vintage clothing from Dunedin and making it accessible to the rest of New Zealand. Tannia runs the business by herself from her home, however is aided by Dylan with technical web assistance to ensure the online boutique runs smoothly. 

After finding that she still had some spare time Tannia decided to focus on starting the Vintage Round Up. There are not a lot of opportunities for jobs for people with Tannia's skillset in Dunedin, this realisation encouraged her to continue to follow her dreams and make her own opportunities. An important part of what Tannia wanted to do was unite the Dunedin scene and vintage enthusiasts to work together and promote each other  more. Tannia saw there was an opportunity to create a consistent vintage market in Dunedin. Her vision was to fill the gap she saw and create a market and brand that people would know, trust and get excited about each month. The Vintage Roundup is a pop-up style market that circulates around of a number of the city's large buildings that are available for lease. Tannia likes that the market hops from venue to venue because it encourages people to interact with new spaces in the city they might not have otherwise. After a period of testing, Tannia came to the conclusion that holding a market every three months would work best. This length of time would allow people enough time to get excited about the market, give stall holders time to find fresh stock ensuring that each market is different from the last. The number of customers and stallholders have grown over time. Tannia believes a combination of word of mouth and online marketing mainly through Facebook has been effective in making more of the public aware of the market. Tannia has been running this for over a year and half.

Tannia explains that the world she grew in was completely different to how it now, however, returning to Dunedin has encouraged her to see the city through new eyes. She believes the op-shopping in Dunedin is the best in New Zealand because the style of clothing her is different her to elsewhere and fewer people tend to be looking for these types of garments. 

We asked Tannia for her best picks of Dunedin for the vintage enthusiast. 
Top 5 Vintage Clothing Shops
Box of Birds (Port Chalmers)
Kings Emporium Vintage  (Herbert)
Two Squirrels Vintage (Milton)
Preservation Society
Purple Rain Vintage

Top 5 Secondhand Shops
Finder Keepers
Shop on Carroll 
Butterflies Hospice (Hanover & Bond St) 
Sallies in N.E.V 





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