I first started buying vintage and second-hand clothes while I was studying in England, when I moved back to Porto, after spending a couple of months in Mozambique, I met Orion (António Júlio). I remember him driving some sort of purple American convertible when I was still in high school and being mesmerized at this dark glamorous kind of Gothic urban cowboy and his entourage. Entering Amsterdam Underground, at the time on the first floor of the (now) iconic Centro Comercial Stop , I felt like an intruder arriving home. I was not Gothic, or underground but the empathy and the sense of belonging was immediate. I have spent many hours there, preparing for possibilities, sharing outrageous eccentric dreams and plans to transform a dormant city into a rainbow, checking architectural plans for his castle up North, admiring the stained glass that would decorate the windows, lusting after the Afghan rug coat that survived the 70s pilgrimage to Kathmandu and, again, missing a life that had not been mine.
In 2012 António Júlio died. Orion didn’t because constellation stars never burn out.
Being unique and unrepeatable, António Júlio had this ability to jump generations, to go against the norm, to insist, to create diversity by making our urban routes amazing, and surprising . It is the sum of lives like this, in different areas, which make the wealth of cities
Fátima I met when her store, Rosa Chock Vintage, looked like a psychedelic cloud at Rua Oliveira Monteiro, close to my former high school. I bought an amazing green 80s batwing leather jacket that still lives in my closet and gets a lot of compliments every time I wear it. “It looks so vintage” said the girl behind the counter at the coffee shop. Well, it actually is.
Fátima’s store then moved to Rua do Almada at the center of Porto’s new life but it kept it’s difference. It was never about following the retromania hype of curated new stores made up to look old and selling imaginary “retro vintage” items.
Fatima’ s store, now at Rua Formosa, is curated to the T. Curated for each individual that crosses her door and shares her love for detail and her passion for clothes with history ready to be used in new life stories. Curated for treasure hunters who enjoy the apparent chaos of the hundreds of scarves and necklaces and dresses and sequined tops and ruffles and leopard prints and stuffed animals and the old movie advertising posters bought from Orion.
Curated for all of us that still believe that a wardrobe door can be opened to enter a different dimension.
Fátima is a true vintage dealer who has worked with clothes all her life. She knows what she is selling, she knows the history, the context and she knows that clothes are never just clothes. Like Gaultier, she knows that they are about “what you look like, which translates to what you would like to be like.”
A common friendship and a common sense of loss make me feel at home with Fátima at her larger than life albeit tiny shop but it is her expert eye, her understanding of how to match the right piece to what I have dreamed for myself that keeps me coming back. And this always feels like the truth.
Featured image from: http://rgp-journal.ru/users/Amsterdam_Underground/page/1
Photos 3 and 7 courtesy of Fátima Leite
All others, my own
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