In with the Old – Smiley Pete Publishing

There’s a new local vintage lord in town.

Lord John Vintage, which opened earlier this year on North Limestone, was inspired by the iconic 1960s London retailer of the same name. Curated by partners John Feather and James Lyons, who have both contributed to Lexington’s art scene over the past decade and a half, the collection focuses primarily on fashion and home décor from the 1970s.

Feather launched the first iteration of the business as a booth in the eclectic Leestown Road vintage and antique shop Feather Your Nest in 2018, before relocating to the National Avenue vintage collective The Domestic the following year. No stranger to visual merchandising or to vintage retail, he gained important experience working at a variety of Lexington retail stores that allowed him the opportunity to create striking window displays, including Coffee Times Coffee House, its sister vintage store Street Scene, and Anthropologie. That focus on window displays has certainly carried over to the new store, which features large windows facing the sidewalks of North Limestone.

Several years after opening his own retail booth, in late 2021, Feather and his partner, Lyons, staged a pop-up store in the North Limestone space where their shop is currently housed. Formerly the home of Sorella Gelateria, the building is owned by Mary Ginnochio, who operates Mulberry & Lime, a luxury home furnishings and gift shop across the street.

“I knew Mary from working at Street Scene,” Feather explained. “This space was empty, and she asked if I’d like to do a pop-up and I said ‘definitely!'”

“Before we were done with the pop-up, Mary asked what we were going to need to do to make this permanent,” he continued.

Owning his own shop had long been a dream of Feather’s, so with Ginnochio’s encouragement, he and Lyons started a GoFundMe campaign to raise some of the funds needed to make their permanent shop a reality. They opened their doors to the standalone shop in mid-January.

As far as Lord John’s aesthetic is concerned, Feather said he aims for authenticity.

“All of the fixtures in here are authentic from the ’60s and’ 70s, and the hangers and displays came from Europe, where the old Lord John store would have been,” he explained. “I want it to be as authentic as possible here.”

“I try to, as much as I can, stay focused on the ’60s and’ 70s,” he added. “I do buy some ’80s and’ 90s if it’s really good, but staying with the ’60s and’ 70s sets us apart from the other stores.”

The shop does feature at least one modern element that fits right in with the time period: Wackrame, Lyons’ macrame plant-holder business.

A photographer and painter who made his living for many years as a bartender, Lyons said that like many people, he found himself with a lot more time on his hands during the early months of the pandemic.

“I woke up one day wondering if I could do macrame, and started working on something,” he said. “Feather asked when I learned how to do it, and I said I was just trying it out – I did not know it was trending, but he encouraged me to keep going and start making money from it. ”

Lyons started an Instagram account for Wackrame (@ wackrame.lw) and started to take pieces – mostly hanging plant holders but sometimes other types of art pieces – when helping Feather with pop-ups. “It popped off from there,” he said.

Created mostly with jute rope combined with unique materials such as masonry twine and denim, Wackrame pieces are distinctive from other macrame due to their fun and colorful accents like beads, bells and brightly colored tassels.

Lyons has found the process of creating to be cathartic.

“You’re standing there for long periods of time figuring out how things are going to fit – measuring for the vessel that you’re using as a plant holder and figuring out the different designs,” he said. fun, learning how to expand my work as an artist in a different medium and trying something new. ”

The two have additional projects in mind for the space, which is equipped with a commercial kitchen they can utilize to expand their offerings.

“We’re thinking of doing some handmade in-store products, like candles or lotions,” said Feather. “I’d also love to do some loose-leaf teas.”

“Having the kitchen, we are able to sell some other stuff like cocktail bitters and syrups and whatever else we come up with,” Lyons added.

They also plan to start buying from individuals and offering some consignment services in the near future.

Of their customers so far, Lyons said it has been fun to learn how people have found out about the shop.

“The clientele so far has been mixed between both friends and people we know, and also people we’ve never met who liked our booth in the past and tracked us down through Instagram,” Lyons said. “It’s always so awesome to hear that we have people [who] follow us – some do not even live here but look to us to see what we’re doing on a regular basis. ”

Feather, who sees fashion as a form of self-expression, sometimes finds himself serving as a walking billboard for the store.

“A lot of people have also found us just by [seeing] me out wearing the most absurd outfit and asking where I got it, ”he said with a laugh. “I’m so excited about that – to be able to promote myself that way.”

When asked why vintage clothing has become so popular, both have ideas.

“One thing that I notice is that the new couture shows are mixing ’70s,’ 80s and ’90s all together, and I think that made vintage even more popular,” said Feather. “It also has a lot to do with movies and shows that are out. They become an educational moment for people who are coming into their own fashion style. ”

“Also, in the past 10 years or so, a lot of the big design houses – Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, Fendi – have come out with retrospectives and going back to all of their original and iconic looks and giving them a little rework , ”Added Lyons.

“I feel like right now in fashion everything is in style,” Feather added. “Everything is fair game. The thing is just to be yourself and wear what you want to wear. ”

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