DJC Summer
We love pre-loved

Old school’s cool

We showcase five brands who reveal that this adage is really about provenance, value and sustainable consumerism.

We’ve said it before: we love pre-loved. It’s been a year since we launched this feature and the first edition was a hit.secindhands to be just as much of a keeper.

Thanks to the return to slow living and conscious consumerism, the term pre-loved has grown in its reputation over the past few years. Forget junkyard vibes or sad looking hand-me-downs that never quite fit in, we’re talking premium vintage, retro and antique pieces, judiciously sourced for their superior design qualities and provenance, skilfully restored and artfully marketed to the consumer.

Pre-loved isn’t a style or a trend, it’s an approach to buying something with history which can be handed down to further generations, something of utmost quality that was created to last and something that’s unique in that it hasn’t been mass-produced and is likely one of few today. Talk about sustainability and value for money. In the current wave of tired consumer culture, these timeless qualities are retail gold.

These five local brands stand tall above the mass market model and each provides their reason to opt for pre-loved.

VINTAGE CLUB

Bric-a-brac and an oversupplied inventory are two things you won’t find with Vintage Club. “We aim to only offer quality pieces that we would love to live with,” claim the Simon’s Town based husband and wife team made up of Adriaan and Jeané Mused who confess to being “fussy” about their selection.

The pair keep their inventory deliberately tight, selling only quality, authentic mid-century and vintage pieces focussing mainly between the years 1940 and 1970. This is where you’ll find that original EE Meyer sideboard, Ercol Windsor Grandfather rocking chair or Frystark Lounge chair, all restored with the lightest and deftest of touch. Their process of cleaning, restoring and refinishing their items always begins with a “deep respect and appreciation for the original form,” a philosophy that makes them sought-after with collectors.

What we love…

Their approach to restoration is one of less is more. They aim to enhance the original qualities of each piece, only if and as much as is needed, so you won’t find any funky reimagined items here. Their photography is pretty cool too!

What value do you see in buying pre-loved?

It offers you a more sustainable approach to living. Buying pre-loved furniture extends its product life. Most of our pieces are more than 40 years old and will last for at least another 40+. If more of us followed this trajectory we could cut down on our carbon footprint. When you buy vintage furniture you buy into a piece of history.

www.vintageclub.co.za

@vintageclubfurniture

MINIMAAL

Having a trained eye is half the magic in this trade and this is something that Minimaal has in abundance. The duo’s skillset is backed by experience in cinematography, furniture manufacture and interior design, resulting in a potent sense for what works style-wise. Their inventory reveals their love of 60s and 70s modernist pieces, most of them with a brutalist and cowboy undercurrent.

Honouring the longevity of each item they restore, they tend to opt for finishes and materials like leather, beeswax and solid wood that aid each item on its journey over the decades to come. This approach puts them firmly at odds with the trends and into the camp of major afficionados. It’s not surprising that Minimaal often takes a full day styling and shooting a single consignment of stock, considering what props to pair it with and which lighting option is best.

Keep an eye out for the launch of their new website and collection of house-designed and manufactured vintage-inspired furniture and décor.

Why we love them…

Because each piece is treated as its own special case. There’s no widely-used grey upholstery, as they say. “We look for what the piece is saying, what colour and type of fabric we are going to use and what finish would work with that specific type of wood.” Their moody styling is also impressive.

What value do you see in buying pre-loved?

Makers took more time and effort when manufacturing during this era which is why their design and craftsmanship has withstood the test of time. We love that even once restored, we’re never able to make a vintage piece perfect, there will always be imperfections that show its age and character.

www.minimaal.co.za 

@minimaal.finds

RE-TREND

Joburgers and the greater online community already know Re-Trend for the passion and skill the brand brings to the vintage and retro sector. Thanks to the move into bigger premises at Rand Steam Shopping Centre, they’ve filled their store with a sharply styled melange of furniture, art and accessories, as well as indoor plants.

“Mid-century is versatile, all-inclusive and most often – timeless. The simplicity of this furniture style is understood by many, hence its popularity,” explains owner Larushka Maré. Theirs is a top drawer, but generous offering and one that’s often celebrated for its appeal to all tastes and price points. Fans have found that their Instagram and website uploads come and go in a flash, so we’d advise you not to dither on a purchase. The great news is that you can also bring them your own pieces (of any style or period) for restoration under the banner Re-Store. Priority is given to the restoration of their own stock so be prepared for a slight wait if their workshop is busy.

What we love…

That they offer a complete lifestyle around pre-loved, from the more valuable armchairs and tables to lighting, artworks, textiles, glassware, ceramics and even plants.

What value do you see in buying pre-loved?

It tells a story. Vintage furniture has charm and character. A lot of the newly designed furniture, to create the look, is based on the mid-century design movement, however the materials used are not of the highest quality and are in most cases mass produced. To have a similar piece manufactured in teak, rosewood or mahogany would cost a fortune today.

www.retrend.co.za

@retrendsa

COAST & COUNTRY

Few know how to integrate fine antiques into current, contemporary homes quite like Coast & Country’s Olga Barrow. A glance at her beautiful website or Bree St showroom will reveal a palette of rich, dark wood antiques, ubiquitous white and black accents pulled together with her stripped back approach, nothing stuffy nor busy – a bit like a reset for the eyes and mind.

This is the home of exquisite Cape and European antiques, classic slipcovered sofas (think their new romantic-style Sophia Sofa with its curved corners and box pleats) and chairs with perfect proportions. Added to this selection is original artwork, accessories, imported coffee table books and a collection of classic lighting that’s hard to find elsewhere. Just arrived, their late 19th Century Oak Monk’s bench is a fine example of a piece that would bring major gravitas to your home, especially when paired with a crisp, understated interior.

What we love…

That the brand offers so much more – if you like Olga’s style, Coast & Country offers a full interior design service and their in-house range of furniture and accessories completes the look effortlessly.

What value do you see in buying pre-loved?

It’s got real character, one-off appeal and adds interest to any scheme. Every room needs at least one antique or pre-loved piece in my opinion.

www.coastandcountry.co

@coastandcountryct

URBAN AUCTIONS

Little beats the thrill of bidding at an auction and Urban Auctions has combined this retail model with a super accessible social media bidding system. Launched just 6 months ago, the Joburg based vintage furniture company is owned by René Loubser, whose impetus for launching the brand spoke to her desire for a greener future. “New isn’t always better,” she believes.

Hand picking retro, vintage and mid-century items of high quality and outstanding original design, the process of reinvigorating these items is always a journey of painstaking consideration for the needs of each piece. Typically, what she stocks is what she loves, with her own home brimming with pieces of varied provenance.

What we love…

Their dedication to sustainability and supporting local artisans.

What value do you see in buying pre-loved?

I have always been a bit of a greenie and try to live a more conscious life, so my number one motivation to go pre-loved is being more sustainable! Other values include better quality of furniture, unique design, authentic wood pieces and supporting your local community.

@urban_auctions

WORDS: Mila Crewe-Brown
PRODUCTION: J-P de la Chaumette
IMAGES: Supplied
DJC Summer