Wild Clothing waves its own flag, literally. Hanging from the glossy red door frame is a black and red flag with the word “WILD” emblazoned across it. It’s hard to miss the shop on Broad Street what with it’s bright red exterior and fantastically dressed mannequins in the window and although I’ve pined and lusted after many a dress with my face pressed up against the glass, actually going into the shop is an experience in itself. Stickers cover the door frame, endorsing and advertising various supporting companies and as soon as I spot the “VICE STOCKED HERE” sticker, I know I’m in for a treat.
Wild Clothing caters to fans of colour, humour and radical taste. Beginning with the fun range of eye wear, the famous shutter glasses seem a little mundane in comparison to the range on offer here. Eyewear is a hard part of the market to pin down, most shops often falling into the trap of offering a simple range of Ray Bans and 1960’s influenced bug-style sunglasses. But Wild Clothing prides itself on variety within all of it’s clothing categories and whilst it will cater to the average customer looking for a solid purchase, the eccentric dresser will find almost everything they need in this brightly coloured haven. Blue and silver cat-eye sunglasses and white blocked visor shades look like protective eye-wear off the pages of an X-Men comic and at more than reasonable prices, investing in multiple pairs of sunglasses seems like the most logical choice, foolishly ignoring my budget.
Much like scarves, knitwear is one of those clothing items used as starting pieces for vintage shopping; a purchase to test the waters with, so to speak. The good news Wild Clothing are filled to bursting with an astronomically diverse range of heavy-duty chunky knits. There’s something sentimental about vintage knitwear, probably linking to the sense of comfort that it offers in the colder months and all the famous categories are offered in plentiful amounts, not to mention the sheer amount of choice in colour and texture. The Grandfather jumper, the skinny pull-over, the muted colours and the Christmas patterns, they’re all rammed together on a lower rack towards the back of the shop and encourage the customer to take the whole rack apart before finding The One. What’s even better is that you’re most likely going to find the perfect tea-dress to wear under your knew chunky knit, sorting out two outfits and gaining two new staple items for your vintage collection.
Tackling another tricky aspect of vintage is footwear. It’s difficult to find shoes or boots that are simultaneously wearable and stylish, with the problems of faded colouring, broken heels and chipped decoration. Yet the selection on offer here, cowboy boots in particular, is something to be relished. Classically battered and embossed brown boots are a treat for the eye, but they’re simple staples next to the 80’s style white leather boots with magenta, purple and turquoise fringe trim and the rainbow collection of Converse All Stars – unforgiving and outrageously bold, it’s pieces like these and the geometrically patterned, mixed-fluorescent coloured shirts that give the shop its name. The style of footwear isn’t particularly bold in its selection but in this case quality is definitely favoured over quantity and the prioritising of sales in shoes that will last clearly pays off.
The final cherry on the cake is the selection of day dresses on offer for women. Pulled from the pages of several famous fairy-tales, the pleated skirts, the chunky straps, puffy sleeves and multi-coloured print, and lashings of red and blue gingham that look like their fit for Alice during her adventures in Wonderland and more romanticized versions of Cinderella’s scullery wear. The little girl in me, the one who still refuses to take off her floral-print Laura Ashley sundress has a fit and wants 6 dresses and to somehow, wear them all at once. Love at first sight spring to mind, not to mention the durability and comfort of some of these pieces, making them real winners in the vintage category.