LDN Indies | Nordic Poetry

LDN Indies | Nordic Poetry
LDN Indies: championing and highlighting fellow independent businesses in London.


For part three of our LDN Indies series, I chatted to Ameli the founder of vintage mecca, Nordic Poetry. Ameli regularly helps out with the styling on TOWER shoots, always pulling together mouthwateringly good looks with her eclectic collection of high-end vintage. See below our conversation and some shots taken with Ameli (and her puppy, Raf!) at her store on Bethnal Green Road.

Find Nordic Poetry on Instagram here > @nordicpoetry

Why did you decide to set up Nordic Poetry? Why vintage?

I have always gone to markets and loved vintage clothes. I was fed up in my corporate job and saw something I really wanted to do, I wanted to work for myself and recycle clothes!

So once you left your old job what were the first steps you took after that? You haven’t always had this store?

No, basically I started off with nothing. The first thing I did was go to a local market in Deptford at 6am with £300 in my pocket to source some clothes. I then set up a stall on Brick Lane market and made back all my money and more. I was like, “oh, I can actually make money from this!”. I still had a full time job at that point though, I needed to pay rent! When it picked up I decided to get a part-time job and a year after that I left my part-time job completely.

Ft the Bronx black suede Jaxstar
Is that when you got your Boxpark location?

Yeah, after a year I decided I didn't want to do market trading anymore so I launched my online site. ASOS MarketPlace also contacted me so I set up on their platform too. Soon after that, I was contacted by Boxpark who offered me a free spot for a week in Shoreditch. That went really well, so I kept it on full-time. It's now been over 4 years!

Since you’ve been selling vintage have you seen how people’s tastes have changed? Especially with the resurgence of streetwear, because I know that’s something you sort-of specialise in?

Well fashion is pretty fast-paced, and I don’t do “vintage vintage”. I generally do very trend-lead sourcing, I see what the big trends will be for the new season and pick my clothes around that.

Ft the Bronx black suede Jaxstar
How do you think being in East London impacts what you buy? Do you find yourself inspired by the area?

No, not really. I think I’m more inspired by what people wear and what goes on on the catwalk and seeing what the big designers are doing. I think you definitely need to have an eye for fashion to do this, I hand-pick every single garment.

Do you ever get very attached to a particular item you’re selling?

Yeah, definitely! I’m pretty attached to everything I buy, that’s why I bought it. I remember one time there was an amazing jacket I bought and I said to myself if it doesn’t sell today I will keep it... unfortunately, it was stolen from our store that day. That was pretty bad! Although, I do have to do some tactical buys and invest in stuff that I know will sell really well.

Style-wise, do you have a favourite era?

I love them all! All eras have taken inspiration from a prior era. In the 40s they introduced shoulder pad's to garments and again in the 80's they emphasised that trend. I especially love the 20’s, 30's, 70's and 90's. The 90s took a lot of inspiration from 70's fashion with flared trousers and jeans. I love the punk influence of the 70's too, Vivienne Westwood's Sex collection was amazing. But if I'm going to pick one era, it would probably be the 20's and 30's because of the flamboyance!

How do you see the Nordic Poetry brand developing?

I have loads of ideas. I’d like to do some more pop-ups. New York, maybe LA. I’d also like to open up a store in Soho and create my own line, but that’s a little more long term…

On your Instagram, you work with a lot of photographers and run in-store events with musicians, is it important for you to be working with young creatives?

Yeah, I love working with young creatives, they really inspire me. I also want my Instagram to be inspiring for others. I’ve been very lucky to work with some really good people, I've made a lot of great friends.

When doing store events, was it always important to be able to interact in that way with customers?

I think it definitely helps to bring different types of people into the store, people that may not normally come in or buy vintage.

Ft the Kickers Kick Low platforms

So footwear! Do you sell much much vintage footwear?

No, not huge amounts to be honest, only if its dead-stock. It can be hard to find good vintage footwear, people really wear out their shoes. Clothes are definitely easier to look after.

What kind of shoes do you wear?

Yeah, day-to-day I love casual footwear. Chunky trainers and Dr. Martens, like these ones!

Do you have any advice for other indies?

You need to be stubborn, there will be hard times when things aren’t going so well. I think you also need to be tough on yourself, when things are bad don’t start blaming other people. There are so many advantages to setting up your own business, but you definitely have to say goodbye to your life a bit!

And lastly, do you have any tips for people vintage shopping?

I think in general you should treat vintage shopping the same as you do normal shopping; buy something that suits your style. However, it's more special to own a vintage garment as it is a one-off piece, if you see something you like, buy it, as it may not be there the next day! Also, ask the shop assistant - if it is not sized on the price tag - what size the garment is as vintage sizing is often really different to modern sizing.

Ft the Dr. Martens 1461 shoes