This week's Five Minutes With interview is with a very inspirational lady indeed, who is also a WKD stockist! Frustrated after several unsuccessful attempts to order swing shoes over the internet, Rowena Howie was inspired to found Revival Retro, the Fitzrovia vintage outfitters. This year, Revival Retro are branching out with their first in-house range of clothes designed with vintage elegance and modern practicalities in mind, including immaculately tailored suits with designed for the the working woman, and beautifully draped and shaped dresses ideal for bigger busts!
Occupation: Owner, Founder and General All Rounder at Revival Retro.
Describe your style in five words:
Classic. Elegant. Flattering. Forties inspired.
What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe, why do you love it and where did you get it?
My most recent design! It’s a classic shirt dress, but I’ve designed it with more room in the bust. I really struggle buying clothing on the high street and in the vintage world that fits my 32FF bust without gaping, pulling or riding up. Obviously being the main buyer for the Boutique, my selection for the shop is informed by this and other fit problems women commonly face. I do have a couple of favourite brands who are excellent, but still I felt there wasn’t enough choice so I’ve started to create my own range. My Fitzroy shirt dress also has handy pockets that easily accommodate my plus-size phone (which I can’t ever be without!) The material feels wonderfully silky against the skin and the gorgeous ink blue colour is easy to wear and easy to accessorize. At this time of year I’m all about conservative colours with colour pop accessories. That's why it's my favourite piece in my wardrobe.
Who or what is your inspiration?
I am inspired by any woman who is not afraid to be / do whatever she pleases. Talking to women in the shop I see the amazing diversity in this world. So many interesting people with different stories to tell, experiences to share and dreams to pursue.
If you could borrow anyone’s wardrobe (living or dead) who’s would it be?
Katherine Hepburn. She is pure class in my opinion. We all love a glamorous dress for an occasion but real style icons are the ones who look effortlessly classy and well put together every day.
What’s the one thing you wouldn’t leave the house without doing?
Checking I have my phone
What’s your top tip for feeling confident?
Don't just say it. Tell yourself it's true. Believe your self.
What’s the last book you read?
The Power by Naomi Alderman. Everyone should read it!
What’s your favourite song, band or piece of music?
Favourite Song in the world: All of Me by Louis Armstrong
Favourite Band in the world: Skunk Anansie
My tastes are fairly eclectic!
What three things could you not live without?
Toast, sunshine & friends
What's your biggest achievement to date?
I started the business out of a hobby, swing dancing. I sold shoes to friends and acquaintances I met at at dance class. I still can't quite believe I've grown that little business into an award winning boutique in central London, and that we have customers who will travel far and wide to visit our much loved store. The business wouldn't succeed though without the amazing people I have the pleasure of working with. I actually consider my biggest achievement to be creating jobs that people enjoy. I try to ensure there are opportunities for people to pursue their interests, can take responsibility and the credit, there is support and training, everyone has a voice and is encouraged to give input. When you don't hate Monday mornings, when everyone cares and the whole team love what they do. It makes such a difference in life. It's also surprisingly rare so that's why I consider that a really big achievement.
What do you still want to achieve before the end of the year?
I want to launch our own capsule collection. I want the Revival Retro range to be recognised and respected for having superior fit and offering flattering styles. I despair with throwaway fashion and I'm really interested in creating investment pieces for women's wardrobes. I want women to know they can rely on us to have exactly what they need.
Wild night out or cosy night in?
Cosy night in
Naughty French martini or green tea goodness?
Naughty french martini
Dressed up or dressed down?
Dressed up - of course!
Skirts or trousers?
Introvert or extrovert?
Comedy or thriller?
Call or text?
Truth or dare?
True vintage or brand spanking new?
If I could change the world in one way I would. . .
Make education and awareness about mental health a priority that should be well resourced and well funded. It affects so many parts of society it's not just something that some isolated individuals face.
What advice would you give your 15 year old self?
The world is about to become a very different place. There's going to be this thing called the internet and it's going to change everything! Go and hang out in the computer room, learn that stuff, even if (especially if) you are the only girl there.
I am happiest when. . . I'm hanging out with my friends.
What’s your favourite What Katie Did piece? Latte Seamed Tights