Beautifully tailored, made-to-measure garments constructed from old patterns and new fabrics? Welcome to The Golden Age. Karlee Slater is the proprietor and talent who set up the petite studio, hidden on level two point five of Melbourne’s heritage GPO Building.
Their appeal for Slater lies in the simple fact that vintage garments have survived such a long time – both physically and aesthetically. A pure vintage enthusiast, her vision is to offer timeless clothing in the form of a made-to-measure service where the customer chooses the fabric, buttons and trims. Her studio focuses on styles from the period known as The Golden Age (1930s to the 1950s) and specialises in making dresses, coats and suits for women.
Constructing garments without time-saving techniques and cost reducing approaches are values Slater has taken from the past and applied within her own practice. Her origins in the alterations business have also provided her with the understanding that adequate seam allowances and hems are invaluable in ensuring a garment lasts. The Golden Age is a personal offering to those who value quality, craftsmanship and the idea that their hand-tailored garment will be a part of their life for a long time.
It’s a welcome addition to a city dominate by fast fashion. Mass-produced clothing inevitably comes with a compromise on quality, but the concept of ‘fit’ has also faded as fashion has increasingly become about sales and profit. Only in the last 40 years have we been wearing clothes that are less about fit and more about the garment as a singular. We are so easily seduced by colour, print, appliqué and trends that we have forgotten how pleasing it is for a garment to correctly fit the body.
Slater describes the price points of her made-to-measure garments as “reasonable”. It’s a word integral to the values of the past and something commonly overlooked in today’s product-heavy landscape. Suits are invoiced at an estimated $800, dresses around the $250 mark and coats roughly $300. It’s a price structure based on the general amount customers are commonly willing to spend.
“If you're looking to buy a suit from Country Road or Myer, you'll be paying the same money, but it's not tailored to you, not handmade and you can't pick colours, buttons etc”.
Measured, selected, drafted, sewn, fitted, finished and even altered if required, all in the one little location. The Golden Age proves that although the historic golden years have been and gone, the most timeless aspects can be seamlessly relocated into today’s fashion context – and ultimately into your wardrobe.
Golden Age Vintage
Level 2.5 GPO, 350 Bourke Street, Melbourne