GRR

The man flying the flag for Vintage Style Not Vintage Values

12th September 2022
Jennifer Barton

Dandy Wellington is a jack of all trades – and the best-dressed one for miles around. The Harlem, New York-based bandleader, producer, performer, style activis, and Goodwood Revival's very own Best Dressed judge, is known for his dapper style, a voice as ‘smooth as molasses’ (according to his friend and fellow vintage lover, Hill House Vintage’s Paula Sutton), and an approach to vintage that embodies the mantra, #VintageStyleNOTVintageValues.

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Here, he explains why the Revival is such a good fit for his own values and talks about why the vintage scene is a really welcoming place full of ‘big nerds’!

Photography by Anne Hugus.
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When did you become passionate about vintage style?

When I was a kid, I grew up in a household filled with jazz, old movies, musical theatre and lots of art, so I was very much surrounded by iconography and inspiration of the past. People like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly danced into my living room and the effortless style and symphonic sartorialism of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra was a constant soundscape in my life.

Dressing up was something that happened often, so I learned about classic menswear fairly early on. When I got older, I spent time in the fashion industry and New York City nightlife, producing shows and events. That’s where I started infusing my style with the colour and playful palette that exists today.

Over the past 10 years, I have started to define my style a bit more by era (the 1930s and the Gilded Age being big inspirations) but still with a playful eye toward items and designs that inspire me. Vintage is very much an everyday lifestyle for me but I still love to view it through a more colourful and playful lens.

Photography by Amelia Tubb.
Photography by Russell Jew.

What drew you to team up with Goodwood Revival this year?

Goodwood Revival is unique. While most vintage events focus on looking back, this event is also trying to move us forward. With a focus on honouring the quality of items and practices of the past,’ Revival challenges attendees to take a cue and use those important tools for a more sustainable future.

In addition, Revival is committed to expanding the diversity of its presenters and attendees through the weekend. By widening the lens of history to include the experiences of communities not often included in the canon, we can add more tools to that tool belt and move forward together.

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What work needs to be done in the vintage community when it comes to inclusivity?

Vintage is a truly global community. There are lovers of old things everywhere from Tokyo to São Paulo; from Berlin to Johannesburg to Los Angeles. It’s already an extremely diverse community, but could be even more so.

Much of what we know as vintage popular culture is normally viewed through a very Western, heteronormative lens. True inclusivity means that the stories and histories and influences of non-Western, gender-diverse and people of different abilities are as elevated as Western heteronormative ones. Like in any community, there can also be a certain level of gatekeeping, which I try my best to counter by welcoming as many people into the community as possible. I think it's important that this community embraces its totality.

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Photography by Nina Galicheva.

For those new to the vintage scene, any tips for discovering vintage?

Follow people who are welcoming and kind. Know that all of us started someplace different and none of us were experts, then or now. Nobody is an expert.

We’re all just big nerds, super excited by history and old things. When it comes to developing your style, take your time, follow your inspirations, and know that your knowledge and wardrobe will develop organically over time. Don’t be afraid to go to events and meet-ups near where you live, or reach out to people in the community online. It’s a beautiful community. It’s a party that is never at capacity.

Do you know what you’ll be wearing for the Revival?

My style tends to be a mix of mid-1930s style with a modern twist. As I’ll be travelling, I’ll have to create a capsule wardrobe so I’m not bringing multiple steamer trunks to England. The capsule collection could include two suits, two pairs of odd trousers, one pair of plus-fours, one tux (or white tie and tails), one dinner jacket, and an array of dress shirts and accessories.

Of course, the big question is how many hats I’ll bring – but that’s another story!

When it comes to developing your v[intage] style, take your time, follow your inspirations, and know that your knowledge and wardrobe will develop organically over time.

Dandy Wellington

What would you like people to come away from Revival thinking?

After a weekend of seminars, talks, and meeting people from all around the world, I hope people come away from Revival with a greater sense of community and inspired to live a more sustainable lifestyle by embracing old things, purchasing with quality in mind and caring for those items along the way.

 

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