An Interview with Frocks in Swing Time
Amy Butterworth, Online Lifestyle Editor, speaks to the founder of vintage brand Frocks in Swing Time in anticipation of their Vintage Fashion Show.
If exhausted by the hubbub of Exeter’s town centre, you may have found yourself drifting to the calmer lanes of Fore Street. And yes, this does mean venturing past Fever. Here you will find Exeter’s best-kept-fashion-secret: vintage-inspired emporium, Frocks in Swing Time. They house their full collection of clothing, shoes, accessories, each piece drenched in timeless vintage panache and oozing with nostalgic glamour.
As part of the city’s first ever #EBFW (Exeter Beauty and Fashion Week), the store, in collaboration with InExeter, are holding a Vintage Fashion Show in Exeter Cathedral, to model their 20’s, 40’s and 50’s inspired frocks. Hayley Shaw opened the shop in 2018, and having already amassed a cult-following; we spoke to her to explore her passion for vintage fashion and the upcoming event. For Hayley, her intrigue for vintage fashion was piqued when she started visiting vintage fairs in 2014; after accumulating such an expansive collection, she began to sell them.
She has been growing her brand and garnering a reputation among Exeter vintage-lovers for expertise curation in which she attends “trade events with catwalks showcasing the new ranges twice a year”. Here, she handpicks all the pieces, following her ethos of only selling the most exquisite items, many of which are limited edition and unavailable in larger stores. The dreaded fear of outfit twinning is but a distant memory thanks to such critical and select sourcing. We posed Hayley with the difficult decision of her favourite style decade – “it’s tough to choose between the 50s and 40s but I think the cut of the dresses puts 40s at the front for me!”
We want people to see how they can wear our clothing rather than it being something that only looks good on a catwalk
The upcoming Vintage Fashion Show will hopefully provide as an ‘in’ for those ignorant to the world of vintage fashion, with a promise to bestow inspiration to those wishing to incorporate vintage style into their everyday wardrobe. “The first catwalk is designed to show people how they can wear vintage style clothing as workwear, casualwear and evenings out,” says Hayley. Admirable is their decision to use exclusively regular customers to model their clothing at the show. “This is very important to us as we want people to see how they can wear our clothing rather than it being something that only looks good on a catwalk”.
The event will be held at the heart of Exeter within the stony walls of the Cathedral. “I must admit I am very excited it is being held in the cathedral. To host a vintage fashion show in such a historic building that survived the blitz seems very apt!” Also occurring at the event will be performances from The Hummingbird’s Vintage Trio and Nightingale Music, as well as a pop-up photo booth in a vintage black cab, vintage tearoom and cocktails, shopping from indie Exeter shops and a vintage beauty parlour offering hair and makeup: perfect if it’s your first foray into vintage style!
For those intimidated about exploring it, Hayley dispels our fears as she highlights their youngest model, Emma, who has just completed her degree at Exeter University. “She began shopping with us whilst studying drama. She loved how unique our pieces are and I am always happy to give styling advice and take lots of photos!” So evade trends, travel back in time and take the plunge into vintage fashion to round of this year’s Fresher’s week.
The Vintage Fashion Show by Frocks in Swing Time and InExeter will take place on 19 September, 7-10pm at Exeter Cathedral. Book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-vintage-fashion-show-presented-by-frocks-in-swing-time-tickets-70603820929
Header image by Rydal Photography