Found on Hales Street, Milk is one of Coventry’s leading vintage stores but the team behind it aren’t about just selling cool clothes but understanding the the impact of fashion. We sat down with them to talk more about how Milk started, their ethos and where they want to go.
Hey guys its great to speak to you about the amazing vintage wears you’re flooding the streets of Coventry with. First of all tell us a bit about how Milk Vintage Clothing got started?
Hey, nice to meet you guys. We have always been vintage enthusiasts ourselves and frequently fantasised about the idea of having a bricks and mortar store. We discussed the positive opportunities in Coventry, both with the locals (like ourselves) and the student community, then in September last year we were luckily presented with the opportunity of having our own little shop unit. We took it and turned it into Milk!
What’s the Milk ethos when it comes to fashion?
We believe that, as with a lot of things nowadays, fashion is becoming far more of a commodity than it was in years before social media. A conversation we have had ourselves has been “Do I actually like this or do I just want it because of the brand?” We know we’re never going to really be able to fight that and we’re not trying to but we wanted to build somewhere that people felt as though there is nothing pushing them to dress in a certain way.
That’s why we play the chill music and why we talk to customers like people and not like transactions because it’s about the experience we provide. We want people to walk out of our store having bought something completely different, knowing that they’ll be able to pull off. We also decided on Milk as a name because of the phrase ‘milking it for all it’s worth’. We wanted to turn it from negative to positive and raise awareness that when it comes to garments, we should all be ‘milking it’ and making the most out of a cool vintage piece. The impact of fast fashion is becoming more urgent, we genuinely feel it’s our responsibility to help people discover the joy of buying second-hand.
What would you say it is about vintage clothing that has made it such a huge trend in recent years?
We think people are definitely becoming more informed on current affairs and a portion of this is because fast fashion. From the impact it has on the environment to the factory working conditions in third-world countries. People have more access to information and are becoming far more knowledgable and therefore gradually looking to find an alternative. As an example, we have recently had customers who follow ethical fashion. This means they don’t buy new clothes and avoid shopping in high-street stores.
The whole 80’s/90’s/y2k ‘aesthetic’ is a big fashion trend right now too, so to see people coming to us to buy genuine pieces from that era is super encouraging.
How do you go about consistently sourcing the best pieces out there for the store?
We get all of our stock shipped in from New York and Toronto and are soon expecting our first delivery from Paris, which will be even more Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger etc. We also always make sure to buy in a lot of different varieties of clothing. Not every customer is going to be enthusiastic about floral shirts but for those that are we want them to trust that we stock the widest and wildest variety of vintage that we possibly can.
You recently had your first after hours lock in at the store. How did that go?
It was great. We met a lot of new faces and had a lot of familiar ones pop by. It really felt like we were starting to build a little community, everyone was enjoying each others company and getting to know each other, it was super chill.
What’s the go to summer look we should be going for then?
It depends what your style is. We try to put a few different styles in the shop window so people don’t feel like they have to be super edgy vintage because a lot of people think that’s what it is. To stand out a little, we’d say chino shorts, a band tee and a Hawaiian shirt. We’ve done so many outfit combos with this and it’s so versatile we love it.
And finally what’s next on the horizon for Milk Vintage?
So much and yet we’re still planning more. We’re hoping to push to get even more of a variety of stock in-store. We’ve had a lot of people asking for different eras so it’s something we’re looking into currently. Also definitely some more complex rework - tees, hoodies, two-pieces, etc. Accessories are also a massive focus for us so we’re hoping to focus on branching out from clothing in the near future. Definitely looking to display some more artwork by local artists, perhaps schedule some more events for artists/creatives/musicians to meet each other in the city. We want to make the most of the sense of community we’ve built so far, and extend that forward to as many people as possible.
Follow Milk Vintage on Facebook and Instagram for the latest drops, news, information and events. We are also hosting a launch party event for issue four on September 29th. Follow the events page on Facebook for more.
Written by Tom Godwin. Photographed by Adam Goss.