Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Getting To Know... Laurel & Hector Vintage

Kee Kee, founder of the wonderful Laurel & Hector Vintage tells a bit about the business and her other ventures:

Laurel & Hector Vintage is an online store specializing in 1960’s & 1970’s garments; it’s definitely an obsession with the bright and fun aspects of the 60’s & 70’s. They just had it so right! Mixing sexy, edgy fashion with bright colours is definitely something I try to achieve in my day to day wardrobe. Wearing black is just too easy to pull off that bad ass babe look, but adding colour and sass is what the 60’s & 70’s was all about. I’m completely infatuated with mod fashion, those miniskirts, high neck collars and amazing detailing is what made me want to start Laurel & Hector Vintage – I found that Australia really doesn’t have it easy when it comes to finding unique mod fashion. I wanted to make it easier for my fellow 1960’s lovers and have it all available in one store. I sell online because it gives me more time to source new items, do photo shoots and sew mod dresses (which will be available in the New Year). I am constantly working to develop the brand and stock the rare treasures that you can only drool over on in a 1960’s French Vogue.

You should check out Laurel & Hector Vintage because it’s filled with unique treasures! The pieces I’ve personally sourced have been named after 1950’s – 1970’s songs, artists and iconic places which truly reflect s each item. The Laurel & Hector Tumblr & Facebook provides great insight into the garment names inspiration, film, art, music and influences from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Without turning into a complete 60’s freak; I often incorporate modern fashion into the mix to show how easy it is to wear Laurel & Hector items on a day to day basis. It’s all about balance, if you go hell for leather into an era it becomes too cheesy, the best fashion icons will mix it up and wear modern fashion and add their own vintage flare to it.  

When I'm not running the vintage business, you'll find me living by my motto “Deadlines or Die.” I love being busy and am constantly working on a new project. I run ma. gallery which started 2009 in [Sydney suburb] Chippendale, where we held weekly exhibitions and live shows for a year. After being sick of no shower and sharing a room in the gallery we decided pop-up shows would work better for us which opened up doors to exhibit in Japan and around Australia. We’re currently designing the EMI windows that face Flinders St in Sydney, including 20+ artists who will donate art works to be auctioned off to raise money for Christmas Wishing Tree fund for children who miss out on Christmas presents.

Sydney is something that needs a little work. I feel it has so much potential which is why we started ma. gallery in the first place. We wanted to provide a hub for the creatives of Sydney where artists can collaborate together, musicians can meet and organise shows and we could come up with fantastic ideas to incorporate the both. It’s so easy to say that Sydney is dull and such a small town when you don’t do anything about it. Running ma. definitely wasn’t easy, we were the stinky girls who showered in a sink and made people pay $3 for a beer at our art shows just to get by, but we did it because we wanted to add colour to the city, provide another place to exhibit or play and to hang out. If everyone just put in that little bit of effort we could show those big dogs like New York or Berlin what we’re made of. The talent here is insane but we’re losing them all for greener pastures. It’s so sad.

It might surprise people to learn that Laurel & Hector is named after my adorable grandparents. They live on a quiet street in Maitland where my dad and his siblings grew up; the house has been untouched since the 50’s! The collectibles in there are absolutely insane and they still collect bits and bobs. Walking into their kitchen you’ll find the mustard paisley wallpaper still intact, brown, orange and mustard coloured draw knobs, an Uluru poster from the 70’s and of course those kitsch kitchen ornaments like a weird fridge magnet or a ceramic poodle. I’ve heard stories of my grandpa, Hector, being a bit of a babe magnet and a wild boy. Dressing as a teddy and pulling risky moves like gambling his house with the Griffith mafia, I hope this is where I get my carefree attitude!

In the future I hope to live off Laurel & Hector Vintage and ma. gallery as a full-time job. I plan to start designing and making reproduction pieces from the 60’s and 70’s for L&H. I’ve already started with vintage a-line dress patterns with unique detailing, I’ll be stocking them on Laurel & Hector and in Route 66 on Crown Street in Sydney's Surry Hills within the New Year. I also plan to go into men’s wear, hence the name Laurel & Hector. It would be great to see some mod boys kicking around Sydney, even if it is just for eye candy! ma. gallery is also looking for bigger and better things, her third birthday is coming up in April and we’re trying to outdo ourselves each year. Like our Halloween parties we can only get bigger and better. If you missed out on this year’s Halloween we had The Walk On By, Tombstone, Psychonanny & The Babyshakers and Glitter Canyon play live and with eight amazing artists exhibiting from the likes of Esjay, Stevie Edge, John Hynd, Anton Benois and Bennett to name a few made this year our biggest. So our third birthday is definitely not one to be missed!

You can contact Kee Kee at and check out her store here. Follow Laurel and Hector on facebook to keep right up to date with all things vintage.     

Interview by Bobby Townsend. Photos: Ryan Kitching

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