Vintage shopping often means rifling through cardboard boxes under poor lighting while contending with mothballs. Sure, you might find something rare if you look hard enough, but Matthew Preisz and Kamara Thumbadoo of South Newtown’s new vintage boutique King of the Jungle have made finding treasure easy. They’ve hand-picked rare vintage finds from all over the world and are presenting them in a fresh way.
When you walk into King of the Jungle you might do a double take; it doesn’t at first look like a vintage-fashion store. But don’t let the glossy green marble displays, modern coffee table and fresh white walls fool you – some of these pieces are old, but placed in a fresh setting have found a new life.
Preisz and Thumbadoo, partners in life and business, have scoured stores in France, Germany, America and Japan to put together their collection of collectables. Many of the represented labels have never been stocked in Australia before including High Society Collection, Tsubota Pearl, BIIS and Noncense.
“We’re very careful to find [things that are] in amazing condition, whether that’s something brand new with its original tags still on, or used but in impeccable condition,” says Preisz. “We always wanted to present things in a way that [surprises customers so] they find a piece that they really love, that’s actually second-hand, that they might not normally have picked up.
“Every brand has to fit into the framework of … would someone like Colette or Dover Street Market think about adding it to their space and why? A brand has to have a bit of juice to their concept.”
Preisz is particularly stoked to be working with Perth-based punk label Garbagetv; King of the Jungle is the first outside of the label’s home city to stock it. This is balanced out with early Acne, ’90s band T-shirts, and ’80s Kenzo windbreakers.
And what’s the price point like? “We work hard to keep our prices as low as possible. We research what the online market and our competitors might be selling pieces for and drop our prices a good 25 per cent and below,” says Preisz.
Preisz and Thumbadoo chose a 100-year-old building on the south end of King Street for their store, which Preisz says was appropriate for its “Parisian chic, lazy-vintage-shopping feel”. Then they spent “a good five months” restoring and renovating the space: polishing the concrete floors, updating the interiors with brass and marble and modern lighting, and icing the cake with lots of hanging plants and a bright-pink ceiling.
A business model that relies on such a high degree of personal selection means that what’s on the racks will always change, particularly considering the pair’s grand plans for the future.
The pair will launch its own label, as well as incorporating a charity element to the store.
The “remade collection” will make damaged vintage pieces new again. “It will be mostly things like remade 1980s Adidas windbreakers and ’90s band T-shirts and other pieces that might have a sleeve ripped, or something that has something that makes it unwearable.”
They’ve also integrated a consignment element into the store so you can sell your old favourites, too. “We’re trying to create an ecosystem of buy, sell, trade. Everyone seems to have one piece in their wardrobe that they once loved but they don’t seem to use or wear anymore, and a lot of people just don’t want to go through the hassle of selling it online. [Here] people can pass on their loved possessions to someone else who is going to love it just as much. We call it a ‘return to conscious materials’,” says Preisz.
King of the Jungle
585a King Street, Newtown
Tue & Wed 11am–6pm
Thu to Sat 10am–7pm
For more vintage stores like King of the Jungle, see Sydney’s best vintage fashion.
This article was updated on April 3, 2018.