Tell me about Custom Vintage Design?
In a nutshell, CVD takes vintage Levi cut-offs and transforms them into beautifully customised on-trend shorts. Denim shorts will never go out of style, its just a matter of keeping up with the latest trends. I rip, fray, sew, embellish and stud each pair by hand and each pair is hand made once an order is received, for this reason, no two will ever be the exact same. As well as the shorts, which are the centre of the business, I now sell jewellery, swimwear and other pieces of clothing also.
So the mini-Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, is a fan – wow! How did that happen?
I was talking to her best friend, Stassie Karanikolaou, on Twitter and I said I would send her a few pairs as she’s always out and about in LA in that group of celeb children! Next thing I see Kylie wearing them on Instagram.
Did you get more business stateside as a result?
I got a lot more worldwide because of it actually. She never mentioned where she got the shorts from, but even from the picture circulating online people found out about CVD that wouldn’t have normally. So it was great and I still get lots of orders for this style and variations of the studded detail from Kylies shorts on different colour denim with bleached effects.
When did you set up Custom Vintage?
I set up CVD in the summer of 2012 when I had just finished my first year in college.
What inspired you to start?
At the time I was recovering from an operation and was out of work. At first I was just making shorts for myself and my friends, but once I set up the Facebook page it kind of flew from there! It wasn’t really an intentional start-up, it just grew by itself.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I look absolutely everywhere for inspiration! I do look at trends and see what’s on the runway and popular on the high-street, but a lot of the designs are inspired by things that I know myself and that me, my sister and our friends would wear. I am only 23 and my little sister is 19 so in a way, I consider us the perfect target market.
What new styles have you coming up?
Now that it is coming into summer things can get a lot more creative. In the winter girls are usually more interested in Black or Darkish denim Levis, something they can wear with tights and boots to college. But the minute Spring hits things get crazy in the office! This summer I expect to be making a lot of dip dyed shorts, ombre and bleached out Levis with heavily studded sides (similar to the pair worn by Kylie Jenner last summer), flowers, Aztec and fun prints. Summer is always the most exciting time to be making the shorts as there are so many festivals going on and people want something different and funky to wear. Sometimes it’s the customers that can inspire a new design, as all of the shorts are made individually to order, it means girls often request their very own bespoke creation!
What countries do you sell to?
I mostly sell to Ireland and the UK, but I have received orders from every corner of the world, from Argentina to South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Chile, the lists goes on!
How do you market your business?
All of the marketing for CVD is done via Social Media, we have a huge following on Instagram as well as Twitter and Facebook being fairly active. I think it’s the most fun and honest way to market the products. I know that I personally love seeing this kind of stuff when following other brands so I try to keep it interesting for my followers. I will post pictures of all sorts of things and I think it’s nice to be able to see the more personal side to the business at times too. As well as billions of pictures of shorts, our followers get sneak peaks of the action behind the scenes, the design process, photo-shoots, foodie pics and lots of pics of my lovely doggies.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ailbhe O”Donnell