Little Viking Vintage: Interview

Little Viking Vintage for those of you unaware is a little treasure cove nestled in the heart of St Albans, full of vintage dreams. If you’re visiting the area, or indeed live in St Albans and have even a mild interest in fashion (especially vintage fashion) I suggest you check it out. I was lucky enough to interview the owner of the shop, Maria who discussed her collection, which I imagine is fashion heaven, as well as her adventures across the globe scouring for vintage fashion. Expect to come out of reading this interview feeling inspired, and wanting to go down to the pub in full on extravagant vintage attire. Because you know when you hear about someone’s life, and it feels like it’s you’re actually reading about a character’s life in a really cool novel; that’s what this interview will feel like to read.

Little Viking Vintage 2

That velvet top is calling my name… Photograph taken outside Little Viking Vintage. 

How did Little Viking Vintage start? 


It started out wanting to wear what nobody else had and creating an individual style. Back in the day when charity shops provided good hunting grounds for 1920-70 items it was easy to start a collection and I still have lots of these in my private collection. The first item I bought that is sort of the root of my passion (read evil) was a 1980s ball gown in black satin with puff skirt covered in rhinestones and I used to wear this just down to the pub with dm’s* and a biker jacket. Would love to show you a pic but unfortunately it is at my storage and out of reach. You just have to imagine full on 80’s!

Little Viking Vintage 3

Inside Little Viking Vintage.

What’s your favourite piece that you’ve ever come across?


Oh hard to choose!! It’s been so many but to narrow it down: In a Vintage boutique in New York I found this Museum quality 1930’s gown with ballerina pattern and probably paid way to much for it but it is in pristine condition and it has ballerinas, I love ballerina patterns! I am yet to wear it so for now hanging on my bedroom wall. The second item would probably be a 1920’s pongee tissue silk kimono robe that I rescued last year. I was at an appointment in London buying and this lady was just going to chuck it out as it needed a bit of tlc** so managed to grab it for just a £5! I have had it fixed and it is now hanging too on my bedroom wall. These pieces are the base for my vintage inspiration and keeps me motivated that you just never know what you are going to find next!

Ballerina dress

Photograph provided by Little Viking Vintage. 

20s kimono

Photograph provided by Little Viking Vintage. 

Do you have a favourite place in the world to look for vintage finds from?


It varies wildly, a few years ago I was going to NY a lot scouring markets and shops but lately I have started  going to the South of France as they have a different view on which vintage is desirable so manage to snap up a few bargains every time I go. As I am Swedish I also go to Stockholm a lot and if there is a local barn sale I’ll be the first one in!

What advice would you give for someone whose interested in vintage fashion and wants to start collecting?


Buy with your heart and don’t care what other people say! There are so many different eras and styles to explore! I hear a lot people saying, “but when would I wear it” when trying on in store, I say ‘Just Wear It,’ or just hang it on the wall and admire it like a piece of wearable art! Don’t spend too much money in the beginning but ‘work your way up’ until you have found where your heart lies.

Little Viking Vintage Store

I need that cardigan in my life! Photograph taken inside Little Viking Vintage. 

What’s your personal style like and how do you feel it reflects your stock?


My style changes between full on vintage to contemporary modern fashion. One day I will wear a 1930’s gown and the next a jumpsuit from Zara. I’m a firm believer in just wear what you want, anytime you want! As there are so many different styles and eras; the possibilities are endless! As my style changes so does the stock as you are automatically drawn to the stuff you like to wear and end up sourcing for the shop, at the moment it is all about Kimonos!

Little Viking Vintage 4

Inside Little Viking Vintage. 

Where are you favourite places to look for vintage finds from in the UK?


I love hunting in Norwich and Brighton as there are lots of good vintage shops and emporiums. I try not to buy too much from stores as you pay retail prices but for one off’s it’s great! I mainly buy from markets and private sellers that i have connected with over the years.

If you could only keep 3 pieces from your collection, which would you keep?


My 1930’s Embroidered Japanese Kimono that I found a few years back but only just realised it’s true beauty and rarity. My beaten up old biker jacket would be the first thing I’d throw out of the window if there was a fire! It has taken me 20 years to wear it in and it is just perfect!! Thirdly probably my 1980’s quilted Chanel Bag in Gold Leather!

Gold Chanel Bag

Photograph provided by Little Viking Vintage. 

Do you have a favourite fashion era?


I just love the elegance and style of the 1930’s but am also an old punk at heart so anything Vivian Westwood did in the 70’s!

Have you ever sold a piece and then regretted it?


Always!! But you can’t run a business without being able to let go….

What’s your favourite season?


I don’t really have one, but a sunny Autumn day like the other day when you can still wear your summer dress but layering it with a cozy knit is always nice.

Little Viking Vintage

Inside Little Viking Vintage. 

What inspirations do you draw your style/ aesthetic from?

It normally starts by me finding a new item that I wouldn’t have looked at before and seeing it’s potential in a different light and then it just takes on a life of it’s own, adding similar pieces or matching it with something I have not done before. For example my recent passion is Kimonos and i love bringing them in to a wearable garment as a dress or jacket and introducing this to customers!

Do you have any style icons?

Everyone walking down the street! I love looking at what other people wear and how they create their style.

What is about vintage fashion that has you hooked?

You just never know what you are going to find next!!!!!!!!
* Dr Martens for those who aren’t down with the lingo just yet.
** Tender Lovin’ Care (ok you could probably write it without the ‘ but I can’t help but imagine it’s Elvis saying it)
🍂April🍂

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Vintage Spots: Little Viking Vintage (St Albans)

While I used to be an avid vintage collector; I have to admit over the last few years, my passion dwindled a bit. I think this was because despite being close to London where there are loads of amazing vintage clothes shops; I had lost the connection that I had with my favourite vintage shops in Lincoln. On that note if you ever find yourself in Lincoln I recommend visiting Tasty Vintage.

I also did not find a place I enjoyed that was in close proximity (and not as expensive to travel to as London). I did visit The Vintage Emporium in St Albans and found a few bits every so often, but the focus of the store (lots of different vendors make up the store so its quite eclectic) was not quite my aesthetic. I also think being a vegetarian in a vintage shop can be a little odd at times, as generally there will be real fur coats, as well as leather (I’ve discussed my stance on this a bit more in this post but generally I have no personal problem if you’re a vegetarian/ vegan and want to wear vintage items with animal products, but personally for me I just don’t feel comfortable doing so).

I however recently found myself visiting Little Viking Vintage, which is hidden away in the town centre of St Albans. And ever since going there I have found myself falling back in love with vintage again. The place may be small, but its a little treasure trove and because of the location I’ve never been in there with more than another person looking at the same time. You can tell that its more like someone selling curated pieces of a collection rather than all the stock they could possibly get their hands on (which some vintage shops I have visited have given me the impression of) by the specialness of the stock. There’s so many beautiful and unique pieces that I could spend hours there- and I’ve never once felt by any staff member that I couldn’t, as they just let you look as you please. Though on that note the owner of the shop is genuinely lovely, and a pleasure to talk with. She very kindly reserved a gorgeous top for me, as well as bought from me a faux fur leopard vintage coat I owned and loved (but sadly was just never going to wear).

Mustard 70s top(I hope to do a proper Autumn fashion lookbook soon, which will hopefully feature this top.)

Butterfly Bag

Vintage Straw Bag

Vintage(I ;ove these but they’re not my size and I feel like they are most likely leather.) 

Printed shirt

Apologises for the lack of photographs, there was someone else in the shop when I took these and although they were lovely (and I asked the owner if i could take photographs and she very graciously said I could); I still felt too nervous to do a proper job.

Let me know if you’re interested in vintage fashion and would like to see more of these kinds of posts. I also would love to do an interview with the owner of the shop so if you have any questions you’d like answering, comment below! As it will also give me an opportunity to revisit the shop and take some proper photographs of some of the gorgeous treasures they have.

🍂April🍂

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth (main account)

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Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

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Living out my embroidery dreams

Well, now I’ve gotten over my fear about talking about fashion, I see no reason not to continue onwards and upwards and talk about another trend that has been gracing the high street this spring: floral embroidery (well, embroidery in general but I’m going to focus on pieces with floral motifs).

For those of you who did not read my previous post whenever I mention a retailer I will mention a little bit about their ethics and sustainability, not to be judgemental or anything like that, but just so you know more about the retailer you are buying from. Now, before I even started this I knew that this list of my favourite embroidery pieces was going to be dominated by Topshop and Zara. However, I tried to scour the internet for some other retailers, especially retailers with a good track record for ethics and sustainability.

As always however let’s start with my favourite:

Topshop (I think my love for Topshop is partly fuelled by that I longed after their pieces for years but they were way out of my price range so now that I can sometimes actually afford some of their stuff I get way too excited).

7/20 on the Ethical shopping guide. 

For a list of pro’s and con’s for Topshop click on this link. To summarise, Topshop is committed to the Sustainable Clothing Plan and its targets, but the brand does not publicly share the detailers of its suppliers.

First of all, I’m going to talk about this beautiful dress (£29.00) I picked up from them, purely because of the sleeve details. However, I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed to realise that it’s a bit too transparent for my tastes to wear without a white cami dress underneath. However, it would perfect for the beach (not that I am a frequent beach visitor- I’m much more of a autumn/winter person) with a swimsuit or bikini underneath. I wouldn’t have minded if it was advertised as see through or it looked see through in the pictures on the website, but it was not so I have to admit it was a little bit disappointing. Especially, as it means I have to purchase another item to make it wearable.

18362622_2248264658732685_1528254569_o        Image: April is the Cruellest Month 

As for my other picks from Topshop, they’re numerous so I thought they’d be best summed up in a Polyvore set.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 20.11.16 Full set available on my Polyvore!

Top left shirt: £29.00 (clothes will now be described as seen from left to right).

I love, love, love this shirt- it’d be such a good piece for when you want to dress up an outfit (maybe a black skirt) a bit more but aren’t feeling like going ‘all out’ that day.

Cream jacket with blue embroidery: £55

At first I was not sure about this piece but I have been feeling the pastels recently, and this totally fits that vibe. It makes me wish I had pastel pink hair again to match.

White blouse with floral shoulder detail: £36 (currently sold out online but still available at time of writing in some stores).

Ok, so I am very upset that this is basically almost sold out because I only managed to discover this the other day on the Topshop website. Especially, as I’m really loving all the floral embroidery pieces with detailing around the shoulders at the moment and this blouse so perfectly fits that bill.

Black moto western borg jacket with rose embroidery detail: £85 (Petite) Available here in standard sizing (same price).

So this is quite expensive (please, please go on sale) and maybe a little out of season that is if we ever actually start to warm up here in the UK (which I’m hoping we don’t as I am not a child of the sun) but I just adore borg jackets.

Denim flatform trainers with rose embroidery: £29

I don’t know why but I’m really feeling denim trainers in all forms at the moment so these for me are a must (that is if I didn’t need to invest in some solid shoes that will work for all day everyday since all my other pairs have holes in).

White studded shoulder bag with floral embroidery and a gold strap: £25.00

I’m not going to lie I am not a fan of the gold strap but other than that I love this bag and it would look lovely with some denim.

Denim pinafore with floral embroidery on the pockets: £45

Ok, so I cannot decide between this denim pinafore or the other one shown- I love them both. I’m slightly more inclined to the other one however as I’d rather not draw too much attention to my hip area just because the way I am proportioned means it might not neccessarily flatter me.

Floral embroidered MOM jeans: £59.00

Confession time. I have yet to venture into the world of MOM jeans though they’ve grown on me over the last year, especially when they feature floral patterns like the one on this pair.

Black denim jacket with summery floral embroidery details: £65.00

I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like these have a slight fruity vibe in terms of the colours of the florals, making this a jacket that I think (as long as the weather is not too hot) could make the transition into summer.

Denim pinafore with floral detailing at the top: £45.00

I think this pinafore just beats the other one for me, however, I’m not sure what the fit would be like for me, whereas I know what the other dress fits like (as I have a plain denim version).

White embroidered ‘Jamie’ jeans: £59.00

I saw someone wearing these, or at least a similar pair the other day and once again I started dreaming of white denim. I don’t know why but I always loved white denim especially when I was a teenager and these jeans kind of rekindled that love in me.

Black platforms with floral embroidery detail: £34.00

These are so pretty that I might actually attempt to wear heals for once just so I can strut my stuff in these.

Zara 

I could not find a rating on the Ethical Sustainability guide for Zara. However, I found some information about their ethics here, which talks about how the company is committed to a living wage for all workers, however, the brand has been implicated in the appalling working conditions of workers in Bangalore, India.  

Ah Zara, home of embroidery. I went on the website in search of treasures, and treasures I found. Since Zara is refusing to clip onto my Polyvore for some reason I had to pin the pieces I liked to my Pinterest board. On the plus side it’s encouraged me to start using my Pinterest board alongside this blog.

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

This dress combines a lot of things I love. Sheer polka dot details, floral embroidery and the fact that it is a jumpsuit underneath so you do not have to worry about the perils of wearing a dress. I love it so much it’s making me wish I was going to my university’s Summer Ball this year simply so I would have an excuse to buy it.

Price: £29.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

So you know what this would go well with? Gingham! For those who are confused why I sound so excited about this it’s because in my last post I came to the realisation of how much I loved gingham and daisies together. These shorts would also look great with the gingham crop shirt from Topshop that I wore in that post.

Price: £25.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

So this shirt basically ticks all the boxes for things I love right now. Especially since I have been meaning to get a top with a built in choker neckline. I think this definitely needs to go on my birthday list.

Price: £17.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

Unsure if you love or hate this? Me too. But I figure there must be something that keeps drawing me in. I think it definitely will look amazing when its unzipped. Either way, it’s a must have statement piece for anyone looking to jazz up a normal parka.

Price: £99.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest

There’s some definite flapper vibes going on with this dress and I love it. It also looks like it will be super comfortable on hot days due to its flowy feel.

Price: £59.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

This is another dress that looks like a dress but is in fact actually a jumpsuit. You can’t see it on the pin but the dress has a beautiful tie up detail to the back and from the pictures on the Zara site I am pretty sure it has pockets. That’s right, pockets.

Price: £29.99

Rokit (vintage) 

Rokit is a UK based vintage clothing retailer that according to their website has recycled over a million tonnes of discarded clothing and accessories over the last three decades. In terms of sustainability vintage clothing is always a plus, as it ensures clothes are not being wasted and given a new life. 

My love affair with vintage clothing started in my teenage years. It was as I begun my vintage journey that Rokit came on my radar, despite that they specialised in denim and I was more a fan of the ‘classic’ vintage styles. While places like Rokit are great for sustainability they can be irritating in terms of sizing, as since they stock individual, unique options they might not always have your size.

The piece that I am going to showcase from Rokit will only fit the size indicated on the listing, so I chose the piece based on whether they fit the trend/ aesthetic I was looking for rather than whether they’d fit me personally or not.

The piece I am talking about is this amazing 80s blue denim sleeveless dress (perfect for nailing that Rachel from Friends aesthetic) for £40.00, which would look amazing with this long sleeve crop top from Topshop (in burgundy) for £20.00, some black tights and the pair of vegan dr. martens I am forever lusting over (£100.00).

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/Pinterest 

So those are my embroidery picks! I also spotted some pieces I liked at New Look so I would definitely take a look there too but there was nothing that stood out to me enough to make this list. As always if you know a good sustainable retailer I should check out please let me know!