May 01, 2018 | By Samuel Trotman
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Kelly Harrington, aka Kellouhar to her nearly 30k Instagram followers, leads an amazing life filled with international travel and endless shopping. No, she’s not a Kardashian, lucky for her. Kelly is fortunate enough to manage the in-house vintage archive at H&M. As such, Kelly is charged with the task of hunting down unique vintage pieces from near and faraway places.
Eager to experience a day in the life of “Kellouhar,” I linked up with the international jet-setter and invited her to a local vintage destination here in London to see how exactly this girl does her thing.
We head to an invitation only spot in Dalston, Sourced Vintage Studio. Dipped in nostalgic period pieces from the 1800 – 1970’s The Sourced Vintage Studio is the kind of place that sends Kelly flying. Not five minutes in and before I get a chance to catch my breath, Kelly’s already pulled out an early 70’s vintage denim jacket adorned with amazing floral embroidery.
After a bit of treasure finding, Kelly gives me some tips on what she looks for when shopping for H&M. “I’m constantly looking for the new trend. It really excites me to find timeless pieces that our designers can really get inspired about.” She is a true lover of all things indigo for this reason as denim is timeless and never really goes out of style. Kelly looks for vintage pieces that can be easily integrated with more commercial pieces.
Kelly has built a Vintage Archive in Stockholm filled with vintage treasures she’s found through years of hunting and gathering. The Archive resembles the shop floor and provides H&M designers with inspiration for coming seasons. Kelly admits, “it’s hard to part with some of these treasures, sometimes you simply find one-off pieces in the most random areas for amazing prices.”
Kelly’s favourite spot for treasure trolling is also mine, The Rose Bowl Flea Market , in Pasadena. Open only the 2nd Sunday of every month, the Rose Bowl offers an amazing array of American style vintage gems at, often, hard to beat prices. Kelly advises, “If you ever get the chance to go, make sure to go early to avoid the crowds and hire a trolley.”
Kelly shares a few more tips before we head out to grab a bite.
“Check armpits for stains, look for moth holes and tears around seams. Make sure to try things on and ignore vintage sizing labels. Know what era suits you best and don’t always consider designer brands or what’s currently on trend, it doesn’t have to be designer to be special.”
Extremely humble, kind and gracious, Kelly reveals, “I’m always amazed when I receive compliments about my work, I’m a creative pattern designer with a love and passion for denim. I simply love what I do, shouldn’t everyone?”
Kelly laughs at her husbands teasing her about her work trip, calling them vacations. “I really have to remind him that I’m shopping sometimes 8 to 9 hours a day, carrying bags and bags of samples.”
She grins as I give her my best Gary Coleman, “What You Talkin Bout Willis,” expression, explaining that its really hard work. “I sometimes feel like a bag lady.”
Today has been an amazing experience for me. Not only did I get to spend some time with the epic Kelly Harrington, I also got an opportunity to explore a cool vintage spot in Dalston. Kelly didn’t do too bad either she scored a few pieces to add to her enormous vintage collection.
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