So here I was walking through the Autumn leaves to find a little shop I have been longing to visit. I jumped on a bus into town and walked towards titanic quarter as I had just discovered online that the delightful store had re-opened on the Newtownards road. Me (terrible with directions) and my (very patient) boyfriend decided not to take the search to seriously and enjoy the long stroll on such a beautiful day.
Before I tell you about the shop I think I should explain why it is im so eager to find it. In my design class I decide on a theme that I develop into an inspiration book, which I then progress this to dress designs and then my final piece is a dress which embodies all that I have discovered through researching my theme. My theme is pop art. I picked this because I think deep down I have some sort of secret obsession with the 1960’s era, everything from the fashion, the explosion of pop culture, how art and fashion was so in sync, I completely adore! As my project is based on an era, I don’t just want to go on the internet and have tons to secondary research, I want to dig deeper and get a real feel for the lifestyle first hand.
To start my journey back in time, I discovered online there is a shop owned by business man Ian Day called Viva Retro that stocks vintage items from all eras, especially the 60s and 70s which of course suits me perfectly! the website states:
Viva Retro has everything from picture vinyl discs, framed movie posters and vintage annuals and books, to kitsch furniture and furnishings, sunglasses, bags, hats, televisions, pin ball machines, kitchenalia and textiles.
There is also an extremely eclectic clothing range, in which you can find anything from Victorian aprons and undergarments, Edwardian bonnets and christening gowns, ’60s mini dresses, 70’s maxi dresses, ’80s quirky pieces, shirts, trousers and suits for the men and boys, and also vintage-inspired clothing from the ’90s
From the website design, combined with the photos, I was completely intrigued. I knew this was a place I had to see! I am actually glad I get the chance to share this as I don’t want anyone having to be disappointed when they visit North Street to find Viva Retro no longer exists in this location. I was so keen on finding it that I searched Viva Retro on Facebook to find they had a group, I was accepted into the group and asked if this store was still open where I was told it was on Newtownards road, so that’s where I went, and to my advantage it is just a stone throw away from the town!
The new location does not have a sign outside but when you pass the shop window, belive me, you’ll know! It is such a different store to anything ive seen before. It has magazines, furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, ornaments, curtains, absolutely everything! The owner Ian was very friendly casually chatting to every customer and very happy to help and answer any questions whilst whistling as he worked (literally) which is a very pleasant environment to browse in, the music playing from the record player helped add to the genuine authenticity of the place. Ian showed interested in my project and was helping me find images which was lovely! I left with a 60s shirt for fabric samples, 3 records and 2 magazines from the 1960s all for just £4!
If you’re looking for some chic vintage items or your just feeling blissfully nostalgic, take a little trip to Viva Retro on the Newtownards Road (not North Street) and I guarantee you are in for a wonderful vintage venture ❤