Retro Guy: Hidden Treasures
Ever stumbled on highly wearable clothes in your mum’s attic? How about uncovering a floor full of 30-year-old stock in your dad’s warehouse? With the labels still on? Bali Rahkra tells us about the moment he struck gold
My dad said I could take a look at the old clothing he had on the fourth floor of his Tradeston warehouse. He started his business [Clyde Knitwear Limited] in 1972 but industrial strikes meant business suffered, so he adapted and started a cash and carry. He started buying from big brands like Levi’s. With fashions changing so drastically over the 70s and 80s a lot of stock wasn’t sellable. He cleared a lot, but some ended up unsold. He boxed it up and, over time it was forgotten about. Until now, that is.
The very first box I looked in was a mix of 70s Levi’s cords and bleached denims – all in perfect condition, with tags. I mean, I could hardly believe my eyes. I tore open a second box of denim jackets. I spent the rest of the day there and uncovered hundreds of amazing styles. People call it the ‘Aladdin’s Cave in brown’, because there are just piles of boxes lying everywhere.
What did you decide to do with it?
I didn’t really know at first – i’m not in that business – but I asked around and contacted vintage clothing stores. Somebody told me about Sloan’s Market, just off Buchanan Street. I started a stall there a few weeks ago and the response was pretty overwhelming. People’s reactions were priceless. Not only was it a big hit with retro clothing fans, but a surprising number of people actually owned the same item 30 years ago!
So, what have you got?
There’s stuff from Levi’s, Lee, Wrangler, Brutus, Lonsdale, Lois, Gap Jeans as well as my father’s own knitwear brand ‘Tops of Scotland’. [Think 80s golfwear, primary-coloured Pringle and Lyle & Scott lookalikes] There’s also acid-washed clothing, sleeveless denim jackets, 100% Shetland wool and lambswool knitwear, shiny trousers, batwing jackets, and some crazy acrylic and crimpolene numbers! Some items are surprisingly stylish, and of course there are a few styles that are so garish they’re hilarious.
Available from Sloan’s Market, Glasgow, every Sat & Sun, 11am–5pm, or from www.retro-guy.com
A small selection of Retro-Guy clothing is available from Mr Ben’s Emporium, King Street, Glasgow, and Not Now Cato, De Courcy’s Arcade, Cresswell Lane, Glasgow.