Trish Stephen – Pastish

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Introducing the ever-stylish Trish Stephen of PasTish. PasTish is a beautifully styled shop – a treasure trove of the unique, the unusual, the unexpected and the simply beautiful.

Tell us about PasTish …

PasTish presents an eclectic range of items ranging from pre-loved designer and vintage fashion, art, collectables, books to antique furniture.

I love grouping pieces in vignettes to show how they work together. I take pre-loved designer clothing on consignment, actively source vintage and designer pieces myself and present furniture from Armidale Antiques.

I also advise on style and colours that suit a person’s skin tone. I love putting together co-ordinated outfits. Some people say: “Dress me from head to toe”. If needed, I can source specific items for people. A client wanted a wedding dress and I didn’t have anything suitable in-store, but was able to source the exact dress she wanted.

What led you to launch PasTish?

I’ve always wanted to sell pre-loved designer and vintage clothing. Over the years, I have personally collected a lot of designer clothes, many that I no longer need, and wanted to sell them through a market stall. When this shop front became available, I initially started selling my own clothes then started selling clothes on consignment for clients, which I was happy to do.

How did the name PasTish come about?

Part of the name comes from my childhood nickname, “Tish”. The actual word “Pastiche” means an artistic work and a style imitating the style of another work to create a new piece. I’d like to think of it as breathing new life into an existing vintage or designer piece by bringing it back into use.

PasTish was intended to be a “pop-up” store. I understand you will now be a permanent fixture. What led to that decision?

So many of my regular clients don’t want me to close. They see it as an opportunity to gain a commission for their designer pieces, instead of simply giving them away. I have had clients wanting me to do a “wardrobe cleanse” for them, then come back and shop with me in my store for beautiful pre-loved designer pieces that go with their new wardrobe. It’s now another service that I offer.

Why vintage and pre-loved?

Clothing today seems so generic. Most of today’s fashion looks and feels the same. In most major shopping centres all around the world, you see the same fashion chain stores, all owned by the same conglomerates. To me, it seems cookie-cutter, and it doesn’t feed the soul. People can feel the difference in quality silks, wool and cottons of the designers’ clothing of yesteryear that were all made so well. A lot of my pieces are unique; this draws people in, to admire, feel the quality of the garment, and to have a lot of fun trying them on.

Who is your typical customer?

We have something for everyone from 13 to 99 years of age: all sizes and prices. I also stock some men’s fashion. Recently, I sold five men’s Hawaiian shirts to one person, one of which was a Tommy Bahama, which they were quite thrilled about.

What has been your most exciting find?

I’m currently displaying an authentic 1920s heavily-beaded vintage dress. There is a beaded rose necklace embedded in the design.  I love it because of the workmanship: it is exquisite and unique. Most people are drawn to it when they enter the shop, telling me that it should be in a museum. Other pieces I adore include an Issye Miyake cashmere unisex black loose coat, a Donna Karan New York wool long coat, and a black mink beret, all of which came to me from the one client.

How do you stop yourself from taking home everything you see?

It’s very difficult. I made a promise to myself from the beginning not to buy one thing for myself. I kept that promise until one afternoon; I was cold and bought a coat to go straight from work to an event.

Where to from here?

I’m living the dream in many ways, but there is always room for improvement. I have a lot of stock I can’t display at the moment, and I’d like to expand the size of the store to incorporate other local artists’ work, hopefully making the arcade a bit of a destination.

What was or is the biggest challenge you are facing?

Sometimes the happiest clients leave with an item they wouldn’t normally have considered trying on. The challenge can be encouraging people to try things that don’t, at first glance, appeal to them. When someone falls in love with a piece that is not their size, I make a special effort to find them something that they may also love and want to take home.

If someone was just starting up, what would you advise them?

MUST be passionate about the business you’re going into.

MUST love going in to work every day.

MUST have a business plan and recognise who your clientele will be. Rent is quite high in Armidale, so you need to do your homework.

Thank you Trish.

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