Anyone can walk into a department store and pick a mass-produced item of clothing and probably walk into a party later that night wearing the same outfit as, perhaps, three other people there. Not so great. What a special feeling it is to know that what you are wearing is completely unique, has travelled through time unscathed yet still held its own against even the most expensive designer clothing. Where might I find an item such as this?
As I approached the vintage Mecca on Gili Trawangan island off the northwest coast of Lombok, known as Casa Vintage, the answer to my question was found; my eyes feasted on the display before me.
At first I thought it is a café, as there was a colourful array of antique furniture sets placed around the circumference of the white-washed walls. Wood from trees long gone painted the colours of candy shop lollypops, along with old-school metal framing, fashioned into the coolest furniture pieces you might find in a 1960’s Cuban film.
My eyes were drawn to a floral swimsuit floating carefree on a hanger in the window. This took my imagination to the day a young girl first unwrapped it from its brown paper packaging, and, with delight, taking a swim in a river marvelling at the smoothness of which the water glides over her new swimming costume. She was the envy of all the young girls who ventured to the river that summer of ’69, and it was all because of this swimsuit that she attracted the eyes of her first love.
And that, my friends, is the journey you will take upon entering Casa Vintage, as you cast your eyes over each distinct object from clothing and furnishings to humble homewares. There is a story behind each piece and it is waiting for you to give it yet another story. So let the story begin.
Three years ago, after the success of their vintage store in Sweden, Nathalie and Johnny Josefsson decided it was time for a new adventure, so they packed everything up and bought a one way ticket to Asia. Upon their feet touching the golden sands of Gili Trawangan, they knew this would be their new home. With the serene energy of the island, and the laidback lifestyle it had to offer, they could see it would be a great place to raise their young son and also set up shop. Natalie and Johnny have made their vintage passion, shared by many around the world, into a successful niche business.
With the success of their first store on the island, Vintage Delivery, they have recently opened their new concept design store Casa Vintage, which is situated 50 metres inland from the main harbour, opposite the well-known Kafe Kecil Thai restaurant. In the upcoming months the upstairs terrace will open as a café, serving real coffee which is, as everyone knows, hard to find in Gili. Homemade goodies, ranging from fresh bread to cakes, will be served along with succulent salads and tapas, tapenade platters, organic veggies and night time barbeques. In this gorgeous setting you will be able to drink your prohibitionstyle cocktails while listening to live acoustic music at night. This place was designed by a couple who are turning 30 this year, and so for other people in their 30s (but not restricted to this age group), it’s going to be a great place to dine and just hang out. Shopping followed by eating and drinking is a successful day, whatever age you are.
Casa Vintage offers the punter or hunter, as you might call them, many treats sourced from unknown (and secret) places from all over the globe. There are both men and women’s section of clothing; items like gorgeous lace kaftans, original Levis workwear, leather satchels, object d’art and retro sunglasses. So for those of you who have not explored the vintage scene, this is the place to go. What you will find is a oneoff piece that you’ll be hardpressed to find anywhere else. Everyone has a vintage streak in them—this is the originality of the individual that is timeless. For me, it is antique suitcases from wartimes, battered and worn. I know that each of these suitcases has untold stories of transition, leaving one place for another. For you, it might be an original Dior dress from the fifties. And so the story continues…
Gili Trawangan, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia