Harry & Claire from Texcess Vintage
Part-time adventurers and full-time lovers, Harry Webber and Claire Salter run an online clothing store, Texcess Vintage, with a sprinkling of perpetual wanderlust, on the side of their “real life” jobs.
Claire Salter and Harry Webber grew up in the same coastal city in NSW, but it took each of them moving to London for their paths to eventually cross. They say Paris is the city of love, but for these adventurers, it was London’s calling. When they eventually moved back to Australia together, they pooled their collections and passion for vintage pieces into Texcess Vintage.
Claire and I met for a “blind date” of sorts, sharing avocado on sourdough at a café in Newtown last month. This was just before the shoot for their new Autumn range, and I’m super pumped to share the images here. The new collection was shot on film by the incredible Jessica Kirk, featuring the ridiculously photogenic Jacqueline Clarke Mitchell and Willy Coleman. It’s a regular froth fest.
"We’ve both been collecting for nearly ten years, as a hobby, so we thought it was time to do something with it"
These cool kids have both “always worked in vintage”, with Harry even managing one of the largest vintage warehouses in the UK – East End Thrift Store. They would have regular “pound sales”, where 8,000 people walked through the door in one day. Claire used to run a vintage store on Crown Street, and she even used to run a food van with a friend in the UK, called The Slice Girls, with an outdoor pizza oven, which is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. Now, they call Sydney home and run Texcess on the side of full time jobs – Claire in casting and advertising, and Harry in disability services.
The idea behind the Texcess brand is vintage clothing inspired by travel. These two have a pretty hardcore case of wanderlust. “We are both pretty travel obsessed so we’re always saving our pennies to go on little adventures. We went to New Zealand at the start of the year and drove across Australia after we got back from Europe last year. This doesn’t always tie in with business but we get to see new things and pick up different influences, which helps with the creative side of Texcess,” says Harry.
They’ve done six vintage fashion shoots to date, with more in the pipeline. Watch this space…
Who’s the coolest person you know?
C: All my friends are cool. It’s like when someone asks, ‘What’s your favourite band?’ It’s so stressful. I don’t even know what I think is the definition of cool.
There is no definition. That’s why it’s cool.
C: I love when people are just doing what they love, they’re chilled and happy, even if they’re not necessarily generating a huge income.
What advice would you give to others wanting to follow their dreams?
H: Have fun and work hard.
by Amy Lovat
Did you have the idea for Texcess Vintage in London, or did you come home and wonder what to do with everything you’d collected?
Harry: We were collecting so much stuff that we couldn’t fit it in our flat so we started to ship it back to Sydney, then we started to ship in from America and Australia as well. Things were getting crazy again, so we decided to start sharing it to avoid drowning in it!
Claire: We wondered whether to get a shipping container and do a pop-up store back home to see how it goes. We had a few ideas, we thought about collaborating with someone else, or focusing just online and creating some income before opening a shop. Eventually, we just started building a social media following and taking pictures of our unique pieces. We have so many amazing pieces that we don’t mind if it sits on the site for six months, as long as someone eventually buys it and loves it. We love when people are as passionate as we are. After six months on social media, we launched the site in November 2014.
What’s the appeal of vintage?
C: I get bored pretty easily, as you can probably tell. I’ve worked in so many fields and the idea of thinking about next year gives me anxiety. With vintage, you never get two of the same thing. It’s always changing. It’s funny how things are always coming back around, and finding pieces before the trend happens, that’s exciting.
H: It’s nice to know people like our vibe and have similar tastes to us.
"INSPIRED BY TRAVEL AND TEXTURE, THE COLLECTION IS AN ALTERNATIVE RAINBOW OF VINTAGE NOSTALGIA AND MODERN WONDER. FROM THE YELLOWS AND ORANGES OF THE DESERT TO THE TEALS AND WHITES OF THE TROPICS."
Where did the name Texcess come from?
C: I was working at The Lair, and there’s a brand of jeans called NEUW, and you always have to explain that it’s not “new” as in “n-e-w”, and you’ve already said the name three times so it’s stuck in your head. So we thought about associating the name with a place. So, ‘where did you get that from?’ ‘It’s from Texcess.’ ‘Oh, you went to Texas?’ ‘No, it’s Texcess, like excess, not Texas the place.’ It’s the same thing, you know? It creates a conversation. Plus, we have excess clothing, so it works. [laughs]
How do you both live and work together peacefully?
C: We haven’t had many issues. It’s still early days. We don’t fight much about it and we’re honest with each other. We always do styling together, which is good. Harry has a classic vibe and I can get a bit carried away sometimes, so we balance each other. He does a lot of the writing stuff, and I do things like emailing, sending out clothes. We do markets, as well, which is a fun way to spend a weekend together.
What’s the most challenging thing to overcome?
H: Designing and building our website was a bit tough but we had some friends who helped us out.
C: It’s a challenge not being the only vintage store in the world and trying to stay unique and compete. We’ve just tried to create our own style and find a niche. It’s curated by us, not just randomly searching through thrift stores. We like our stuff to come from places other than Australia.
"We are both pretty travel obsessed so we’re always saving our pennies to go on little adventures… we get to pick up different influences, which helps with the creative side of Texcess."
Where do you source your clothes?
C: We’re still bringing stuff over from London. Our friend Willy went over to New York and helped us pick some stuff over there. We have friends who own a store in Berlin, and their seasons are opposite so it works out sweet because we can buy a lot of their stuff at the end. We try to look for quality. There were so many ‘90s pieces that have replicated the ‘70s so sometimes it’s hard to tell. But it’s good to stick to our roots instead of trying to be jack of all, master of none.
What does the perfect future look like?
H: Who knows…
C: I can’t even look at tomorrow and know what I’m doing. We’ll stay in Sydney for the rest of the year. My ideal future would be to go over and work in our friend’s shop in Berlin for a while, then fly to New York and roadtrip the whole way across America collecting pieces for a few months.