A new – yet possibly already familiar – name in vintage fashion retail is about to land on London’s iconic Neal Street: Goldsmith Vintage. The store is eponymously named after its founder and principle curator Peter Goldsmith, who accidentally ‘fell’ into the vintage fashion trade, after falling on hard times. Starting out with a small market stall on Brick Lane, Peter’s individual style and entrepreneurial spirit quickly resonated with East London fashionistas and business boomed; 10 years on, Goldsmith can now lay claim to being one of London’s more prominent vintage fixtures.
Peter made the decision to open this third site having seen the appetite for second-hand clothing grow unabated in recent months despite the pandemic. Quality vintage is the ideal sustainable choice for buyers in the ever-growing backlash against fast fashion, as awareness about the negative impacts of the fashion industry grow. Peter’s expert sourcing of unique, affordable pieces is meeting this demand and giving the business firm resilience.
Peter currently spends his days devoted to his work at Goldsmith Vintage, continuing to develop the brand, as an inclusive, affordable, high quality alternative to what is currently on offer on the high street. His own identity is ingrained into the aesthetic of this diverse, LGBTQ friendly business, which continues to put environmentalism, opportunity and equality at the centre of its agenda.
Peter credits much of his talent for sourcing and grading vintage to his personal experiences growing up around the ‘mad visual culture’ of Soho and Camden in the 80s & 90s, being fully immersed in the sub cultures from punk through to rave. Time spent as an environmentalist and social justice activist has further deepened his understanding of cultural interplay and its impact on street style – which keeps Goldsmith Vintage on the pulse of future fashion trends. Beyond brinks and mortar, Goldsmith Vintage is a firm favourite on the festival circuit with their travelling festival store – from a burgeoning prime spot at Glastonbury, to a high end offering at Wilderness festival. Peter and his team certainly don’t sit still. It’ll be no surprise to hear, an e-commerce platform is also in the pipeline! Watch this space.
Who is Peter Goldsmith and how would you describe yourself?
I spend most of my time in servitude to Goldsmith Vintage, traveling the world buying garments, meeting new business partners and researching the next big deal to elevate Goldsmith Vintage to the next level. In my spare time I love the gym, specifically boxing, I hope to compete again in the new year for an LGBT charity so watch this space. I love eating out in Soho and shopping on Brick lane and Oxford Street. I love going on to the usual LGBTQ+ hot spots in Soho, but my favourite bar at the moment is the Zodiac in Tufnell Park, Jade the host creates such an amazing LGBTQ+ community vibe which is so often lost in central London venues. I enjoy my personal time traveling alone to Gran Caneria, Thailand and New York. I love going on regular dates and meeting new people. Yes I’m a bit of a Tinder addict I won’t lie, I think it opens up a lot of opportunities to meet a diversity of people you otherwise would never meet. Im still single however.
You have been running Goldsmith vintage for 10 years and you credit much of your talent for sourcing and grading vintage to your personal experiences growing up around the ‘mad visual culture’ of Soho and Camden in the 80s & 90s, being fully immersed in the sub cultures from punk through to rave. Talk to me about this journey.
Growing up in Essex in the late 90’s was hard for young gay people, I realised very quickly that there was no life for me in the suburbs. I quickly escaped to London for a new life, landing myself in Soho at just 15 years old. At the time Soho was a melting pot for the booming gay scene of the 90’s, I was finally home. The continued visual inspiration of both 90’s street style, the gay community and SoHo’s seedier side being the heart of the Sex industry at the time was a major inspiration to me as a teenager.
I soon found myself engulfed in the London clubbing scene and all the trappings that’s this involved. My 24 hour lifestyle, made be a regular at all the major London gay clubbing establishments such as Trade, Heaven, DTPM. Again the variety of fashion trends being worn in these venues was to inspire me further.
Over this time I started to develop an increasing radical political discourse spurred on by the end of the long conservative government and years of homophobic social policy, I started mixing increasingly with London radicals, from anarchists, to anti Capitalists to extreme feminists and queer revolutionary groups. As I started to reject mainstream society more I began devoting myself full time to the revolutionary cause, living in squats, radical conferences, planning direct actions and demonstrations . My my time in close proximity to these political movements brought me into contact with more underground fashion movements like anarcho crust punks, squatters, tekno raves and festivals. Today I have distanced myself for such things but without a doubt it is these life expectances that have allowed to be create the style what Goldsmith Vintage is today.
How did you career start and how did it evolve through the years?
I started out as a flyer boy working since demolished gay nightclub The Tube, my regular flyering spots was outside the Rupert Street and the Admiral Duncan gays bars in central London, after this I became a tickets and music distributer for the raves. After working voluntarily for various queer, anarchist and revolutionary groups I then worked as a probation officer in the Peckahm’s serious substance misuse unit for over 6 years. This was a very rewarding time for me and I continue to feel that I have given back more than my fair share to the community thru my public service and activist campaign work.
Goldsmith Vintage started while I was working in the Substance Misuse Unit, it was a simple market stall on Brick Lane, then it grew and grew and grew to what it is today.
You can now lay claim to being one of London’s more prominent vintage fixtures. How do you feel about this?
Every day I wake up and I am shocked at how Goldsmith Vintage has grown from a simple market stall. To be honest I feel that so much more is more is to be accomplished and achieved and that our position today is only the start.
You strongly value and champion the LGBTQ+ community. How does your brand support the LGBTQ+ community and how important is to promote visibility and awareness through your business?
I am so proud to see my company flourishing, it makes me even more proud that we hold so true to our LGBTQ+ routes and that we can provide a valuable LGBTQ+ safe space for our employees and customers. At the moment we have such an amazing vibrant and diverse team at Goldsmith Vintage, it like a family that just grows and grows x
The opening of 57 Neal Street coincides with what is undoubtedly one of the most culturally disruptive moments in its customers’ lifetimes. You made the decision to open the third site despite the pandemic. Did you see a growing demand and appetite for second-hand clothing even during these months?
I felt it was important for Goldsmith Vintage to remain strong and show its determination to grow, being resilient to the pandemic and the retail disaster that was unfolding around us. My company was brave, we did it and it has been a major success. Our sales have remained steady and im confident that both Goldsmith Vintage and the fashion industry will have a good year in 2021 working into 2022.
What is your business achievement?
Launching our shops in central London, but we have a lot more to do, the biggest achievements are yet to come.
How do you see the future of fashion?
I think mainstream fashion will continue to become more experimental and diverse, over the years I have seen the high street become so much more confident it the styles emits. Im confident this will continue and that LGBTQ+ culture will play a continued and growing influence on this. An example of this is how much main high street retailer have embraced pride as a fashion concept, this has really taken off in recent years.
What are your future plans?
Watch this space!!!!! Our new webstore is about to be launched!!!!
All the clothes that appeared in the photoshoot are from Goldsmith Vintage.
The sunglasses that the models wear are Izipizi.